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Liability when construction defect claims go overlooked

In Florida, board members of community associations (like HOAs and COAs) have important legal responsibilities. One of those duties is to investigate and pursue construction defect claims in a timely matter.

What does this mean, exactly?

When to watch out for defects

Construction defects most commonly are discovered in two situations:

  • During the transition/turnover process
  • After doing significant remodeling or repairs on community property

Transition involves turning over governance of the community association from the developer to the homeowners. It typically happens when a certain percentage of units are sold, or within a certain time frame after construction (or conversion into a condominium).

At this critical juncture, the new board should conduct a thorough inspection to identify potential defects like water intrusion, drainage problems, subpar materials or poor workmanship. Any defects must be brought to the proper party's attention in a timely manner and in accordance with the process outlined by Florida law.

Likewise, whenever major repairs or remodeling are completed, the board should hire a qualified inspector to examine the work. Additionally, boards should always use caution and exercise due diligence when hiring contractors. Only licensed, reputable contractors should be entrusted with such work. Consideration should also be given to hiring an owner's technical representation. 

Avoiding potential legal claims

When boards don't take reasonable steps to identify and follow up on construction defect claims, the cost burden of correcting those defects can shift from the developer and contractors to the homeowners. To ensure that construction defects don't go overlooked - consider speaking with a Florida attorney who understands the construction defect process.

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