Construction Defects: Understanding Your Purchase Contract

construction defectBefore construction began on your new home, a purchase contract was established between you and the builder. The agreement specified the expectations for the construction of the home, closing of the purchase, and likely included plans or detailed specifications to be followed during the building process. What happens, however, if the builder fails to meet the terms of the contact or the home is found to have construction defects? While you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the builder, it important to first examine your contractual agreement, as it may potentially limit your available courses of action.

Implied Warranty of Habitability

As a purchaser of new construction, you generally have the right to expect that the construction will be completed in compliance within industry standards. Illinois courts have established over time an Implied Warranty of Habitability that offers a level of protection to new home purchasers who find latent defects in the home’s construction and have no other legal recourse. The scope of the implied warranty, however, is fairly narrow and applies only to defects that make the home reasonably unsuited for its intended use.

Express Warranty Offered by the Builder

Your contract may be accompanied by a clearly-defined guarantee of workmanship and materials known as an express warranty. As a condition of this type of warranty, you may be asked to waive your rights under the Implied Warranty of Habitability. In its place, an express warranty can clearly specify all of the terms and conditions of the builder’s potential liability. It may include specific types of covered construction defects, non-covered defects, your responsibilities for maintenance, and the procedures for filing a claim. Additionally, an express warranty typically limits the timeframe in which the purchaser’s rights are guaranteed, often one year.

Binding Arbitration Requirement

It is important to read your contract and express warranty carefully and to have them reviewed by your attorney prior to agreeing to their terms. Either document may include a clause waiving your right to file suit in a jurisdictional court. Instead, if the builder fails remedy a construction defect claim made under your warranty, you may only take your case before an arbitrator. An arbitrator is a third party with industry expertise hired to resolve disputes between purchasers and builders, and is often named by the builder in the contract or express warranty. By signing such a document, you agree that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding and that avenues of additional recourse will not be available.

A DuPage County Real Estate Lawyer Can Help with Your Purchase Contract

If you considering a new construction purchase or have questions about filing a construction defect claim, contact an experienced real estate attorney in Wheaton. Our knowledgeable team can help you review contracts, negotiate terms, ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/directories/construction_industry_knowledge_base/meetings/2015-annual/an15-wg-paper.pdf

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Binding+arbitration