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What steps should associations take when construction defects come to light?

Construction defects can be a huge headache for property owners associations. While Florida law provides a process for holding the right parties accountable, it can be tricky to navigate that process with all its deadlines and procedural requirements. That's why it's so important for associations to follow the right steps as soon as an issue comes to light.

So when your maintenance guy has just discovered an extensive mold problem, or the roof starts leaking across multiple units, or the balconies are starting to pull out from the exterior - it's time to take action.

First, contact a Florida attorney who understands the niche area of construction defects (especially as they pertain to common elements of condos or residential developments). By taking this crucial step right away, you won't have to guess at what to do next.

An attorney can also connect you with the right experts - inspectors, repair/remediation contractors, engineers, architects and the like - to address the problem. The last thing you want is more shoddy work from an untrustworthy construction company.

Also: Document everything. Take detailed photos of the problem area as soon as it comes to light. Note when exactly the issue was discovered, and by whom. Detailed records can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth process and a full recovery.

Another thing: Unless it's an emergency (water pouring in through the windows, for example), don't rush into getting repairs. You don't want another contractor to potentially bungle things up and make the situation even more muddled. Plus, you want to ensure that you have properly documented the conditions and avoid any destruction-of-evidence defenses.

But, on the other hand, you can't just neglect repairs and maintenance. Since every situation is different, an attorney can help you determine the best course of action and the appropriate timing.

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