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The heart of construction defect disputes: Who is liable?

For most Florida residents, the biggest and most important purchase of our lives is a new home. Whether a single-family home or a condo, it's the place where much of our lives unfold, making a home an emotional investment as well as a financial one.

Those are among the reasons that make disputes over construction defects so difficult to resolve. For the owner, the property represents an investment they cannot afford to lose or shrug off. They are compelled to hold accountable the person or company responsible for a defect that can make a home unlivable or that can have a significant negative impact on its value.

When a defect becomes evident, it is important to contact a law firm experienced in helping owners protect their financial interests. A skilled attorney can help determine who is liable and then help hold that person or entity responsible.

Is the contractor liable?
The construction contractor is responsible for the work to complete the home. That can mean hiring subcontractors (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc.) and purchasing construction materials. The contractor also chooses the method of construction and techniques to be used.

You can find the contractor's obligations in the construction contract. If the contractor fails to perform as required, that contract can serve as the basis for determining liability.

The contract is usually specific about the contractor's duties, though it's wise to talk to an attorney experienced in Florida construction law about the exact meaning of some of the legalistic language in the document.

If the contractor complied with the plans and specifications, it's very possible that the cause of the defect lies elsewhere. Of course, if a contractor knows that a plan or specification is defective, that is another matter entirely.

We will have more about construction defect liability in future posts. Please stay tuned.

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