One of the common issues being encountered today in the residential construction setting are claims for latent or hidden construction defects. A latent construction defect can generally be categorized as a defect which is hidden or concealed, is not readily visible or known, and was not discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence. In situations where construction has been completed, Florida law imposes an absolute time bar of 10 years from the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, the date of issuance of a certificate of occupancy or the date of actual possession by the owner for the bringing of a legal action based upon the construction defect.
Oftentimes, homeowners do not know or recognize this absolute time bar and unfortunately lose their right to bring a claim for latent construction defects. Many times that is because the homeowners believe that by providing notice or warranty claim to the party responsible for the defect they do not have to initiate a legal action within the 10 year period. Other times, homeowners mistakenly believe that if the party responsible for the construction defect has, or is in the process of performing, or representing that it will perform, repairs that a legal action does not have to be initiated within the 10 year period. In these circumstances, typically the homeowner will be deemed to have failed to bring an action within the required time and be forever barred from asserting a legal action based upon the construction defect.
It is important to consult with an experience construction law attorney to understand your options to preserve your rights, protect yourself, and your home.