It isn’t unreasonable to expect your brand-new home to be built competently and remain free of major problems after moving in with your family. The New Home Warranty Act aims to ensure those expectations are met when buying freshly constructed property. Under this Louisiana statute, builders are required to fix defects in the home or open themselves up to litigation, but there is crucially a limited timeframe to act.
How the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act Protects You
The warranty required by law on new homes is designed to protect any owners during the five-year period after construction is complete and the home is first sold. That means it covers you even if you aren’t the original owner. Essentially, the construction company is required to fix specific problems that could damage load-bearing portions of the home if those issues are caused by defective materials or improper building practices.
If the builder doesn’t act in a timely manner to fix the damage, you can file a lawsuit for the costs of repairs, as well as attorney and court fees. The New Home Warranty Act gives you five years to seek repairs on major structural defects. When the five-year period is up, you are on the hook for the cost of any maintenance from that point forward.
Specific aspects of the construction have a more limited timeframe, however. While significant structural problems are given a full five years, you only have two years to request fixes for:
Critically, a new home warranty only makes the builder liable for one year for cosmetic issues such as cracked paint, plaster, or siding. If you experience those issues you need to have them inspected and reported to the builder quickly, or they won’t be required to take care of the problem.
Limits to Coverage Under the New Home Warranty Act
While the warranty can be extremely helpful to keeping your house livable, it’s important to know what specifically isn’t covered under the New Home Warranty Act, such as:
- Damage caused by someone besides the construction company
- Insect infestations or mold growth
- Normal wear and tear expected for a new home
- Property damage to anything not included in the original purchase
So long as your problem is covered, you can contact the home builder to let them know about the problem and provide an opportunity to fix the issue. In cases where the builder refuses, the law allows you to bring legal action to recover costs for the damage. There are some potential stumbling blocks in the process to be aware of, however.
Notification has to be provided within one year of first noticing the problem and must be given in writing to leave a paper trail that can be verified. You need to provide a certified mail account of the problem to the construction company quickly. If you don’t offer written notification immediately, a court may decide the extent of the repairs would have been less if the builder had been made aware of the problem earlier.
It’s also important not to undertake the needed repairs yourself either, as this can void the warranty and leave you with no protection. In cases of catastrophic defects causing major damage across multiple areas of the home, the amount you can recover can also be capped to the original purchase price of the property.
If your home was damaged by defective parts or a negligent building crew, the bottom line is that you need to speak with an experienced home warranty lawyer to discuss the specifics of your situation and find out if you have a case.
Get Help From a Skilled Attorney Sooner Than Later
Take action quickly to avoid running into problems with time limits that can prevent you from bringing litigation against your home’s builder. Don’t let a construction company get off the hook for leaving you with a house featuring major structural defects. Talk to the Scott Vicknair law firm as soon as possible to get the process started.