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Sarasota Legal Blog

Understanding construction warranties: What owners should know

Buying a new home or condo provides peace of mind on many fronts. You can trust that there aren’t unaddressed issues lingering from decades of wear and tear. You know exactly how long the roof and other critical components have been in place. You don’t have to wonder whether the property was neglected or improperly maintained by a previous owner.

However, new construction isn’t always smooth sailing. Problems can still arise months or even years down the road. Defects and deficiencies might require costly repairs to remedy. In some cases, these problems may even affect the entire development, whether a condo complex or single-family community.

How thorough documentation can help avoid condo repair disputes

Condominium owners associations (COAs) and association managers have important responsibilities. Chief among them is the duty to repair common elements. When, for example, the roof, exterior, swimming pool or foundation need repair, it falls to the COA to get the work done in a prompt, thorough and competent manner.

When repairs aren’t performed well, COAs can end up mired in costly disputes. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of defects and deficiencies in repair work – and to strengthen your position should something go awry.

Workers' compensation immunity reliability

Workers' compensation immunity benefits companies who have lawfully retained workers' compensation insurance by preventing them from being subjected to separate lawsuits in the event an employee is injured while on the job. This is especially important in the construction industry, where accidents on the job are more prone to happen than in many other industries.

Due to the dangerous nature of construction work, the importance of having workers' compensation immunity for contractors and subcontractors alike is being heavily reinforced throughout the industry. A general contractor who has workers' compensation insurance wants to make sure any sub-contractors they hire also have workers' compensation insurance.

Florida laws and questions for developer turnover

When it is time for a developer turnover of a condominium association, an audit is required of all transactions and activity from the date of incorporation until the date of the turnover. The developer is responsible for paying for the audit. It is their choice if they decide to have the audit cover the entire period the project was under their control. Some developers do this just for continuity.

Rules for condominium associations are not the same as rules for homeowners associations. Community association laws can be found in the Florida Administrative Code 6B-22.0062, chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes.

Construction company battles with insurance over definition of “suit”

A construction company, like any other professional business, has a responsibility to carry insurance coverage. Their insurance policy should provide protection against any claims filed against them. This is usually in the form of providing legal counsel, and paying all legal expenses and/or damages, as well as any bodily injuries.

In 2012, a general contractor completed construction on a high-rise condominium project in Florida. Within months of completion, the company had received numerous Notices of violations under Chapter 558, Florida Statutes. Most were for construction defects. The owner was also claiming damages to the building.

Tips for hiring the right hurricane repair contractors

Facing hurricane damage after last season's devastating blow? Feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of getting repairs done in a reasonable time frame - and done well?

You're not alone.

Many Florida homeowners and condo associations are struggling to find quality contractors in the aftermath of Irma. Choosing the right contractor is a critical decision.

One of our firm's founding attorneys, Alan Tannenbaum, addressed this important issue at the Hurricane Recovery expo in Sarasota. His remarks were recently featured in the Herald-Tribune. We've summarized his tips below.

'Construction defect' is a broad term

"Construction defect" is a common term used in the construction industry. Unfortunately, finding a definitive description for the term is not so simple. Construction defects not only vary depending on the interests and viewpoints of the individuals involved, but statutory definitions vary by state.

Litigation and disputes regarding construction defects are complicated to resolve. There are many factors involved, and the "at fault" party has much to lose or gain financially by the outcome. A thorough investigation must be done of the construction project, and your legal representative must be knowledgeable and assiduous in litigating your case.

Common construction conflicts

When a construction project is not managed down to every detail, disputes can easily arise. This is because every construction project is bound to run into unexpected circumstances. This could be a delay in the delivery of the materials, unexpected sick leave of a worker or a change in the demands of a client. Therefore, paperwork and contracts that are written out at the beginning should account for who is liable in every imaginable circumstance.

Conflicts over the project scope

When paternity rights help fathers get more fathering time

Florida law regarding families and child custody are centered around the well-being of children, who are often less able to realize their wishes when parents are busy keeping their affairs together. In order to have the best possible life, children need happy and effective parents.

Florida has several avenues for biological and adoptive parents to claim their legal rights and responsibilities. Although many fathers would claim these rights in a divorce or to legally verify their parenthood, another reason fathers may seek a legal confirmation of their parenthood is to provide child care through paternity leave.

What is a collaborative process divorce in Florida?

In July of this year, Florida's new Collaborative Law Process Act (CLPA) went into effect. The CLPA is an alternative method to resolving family matters without court involvement. Just as it implies, it is a form of collaborating and negotiating that does not involve litigation.

The CLPA can be used in any family matter dispute that would normally require litigation in a court proceeding. Divorces, child custody agreements, agreement modifications or family disputes could all be resolved by the collaborative process in lieu of a court hearing.

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