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Construction Warranty Rights for Unit Owners in Florida Condominium Conversions

Unit owners in Florida condominiums converted from preexisting apartment buildings have inferior rights and remedies to recover for construction defects as compared to the rights and remedies available to unit owners in new Florida condominiums. Unit owners in new condominiums have statutory warranty protection under F.S. 718.203 which extends from the developer, general contractor, subcontractor and suppliers and covers to some extent all improvements and systems interior and exterior.

With condominium conversions, there are no statutory warranties extending from the general contractor, subcontractor or suppliers. The developer can opt out of statutory warranties if the developer adequately funds converter reserves per F.S. 718.618. If the developer chooses not to fund reserves or does not fund adequate reserves, a statutory warranty from the converter developer per F.S. 781.618 does extend to the unit owners, however, until recently, it did not cover all improvements.

If your condominium was converted prior to the enactment of amendments to F.S. 718.618 in 2007, assuming your developer opted for extending warranties or chose instead to fund reserves but failed adequately fund them, a statutory warranty extended to the unit owners but covered solely the roof and structural components, fireproofing and fire protection systems and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems (except those serving only one unit). Although there is a continuing debate as to the scope of the term "structural," arguably the warranty did not cover the exterior building facade (i.e. walls and windows), paving and drainage features and exterior amenities (tennis courts).

For condominiums converted after the 2007 amendments to F.S. 718.618, assuming the choice by the developer not to fund reserves or the failure of the developer to fund adequate reserves, the developer statutory warranty now covers all improvements and building systems.

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