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Florida’s recent changes to construction defect claims

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Real Estate |

Florida’s statutes changed recently, affecting how property owners can make claims for construction defects. The governor signed these adjustments into law on April 13, 2023, but they have a brief grace period and do not take full effect until July 1, 2024.

Property owners should understand the scope of these changes to see how they affect the possibility of a claim.

The statute of limitations for reporting defects

Florida residents can find the new amendments in Senate Bill 360. The primary change is the time limit for property owners to report construction defects. The law retains a four-year statute of limitations for construction claims.

However, owners previously had a 10-year statute of repose that delayed the time limit for hidden issues. With the new rules, owners only have seven years. This highlights the importance of promptly dealing with any problems in a building.

In addition, the law also changed when the clock starts ticking for filing claims. Before, the timeframe began when the owner got possession of the property or when the construction contract finished. The new law starts the countdown from the earliest of the following events:

  • When the building gets a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy
  • At the completion of the building
  • At the abandonment of construction, even without completion

These changes aim to streamline the process and clarify when property owners can initiate legal action regarding construction defects.

Clarifications for different property types

The changes also make it clear that the law gives each apartment or condo in a building its own separate time limits. For buildings that were originally model homes, the limitations period begins when the deed transfers to another party. These updates help apply the time limits correctly to each unit and prevent confusion or arguments.

With the shorter time limit and new starting points for claims, property owners need to stay alert and address any problems quickly. If they do not act within the set time, they might lose their chance to take legal action.

Founding Partners Damaso W. Saavedra and Allyson D. Goodwin