When you purchase a new property, you should be able to take it on faith that it will be built to standards and free of defects. Unfortunately, sometimes expectations don’t always meet reality and when a builder cuts corners, your property value will suffer.
Fortunately, California law is written in a way that helps protect property buyers in a case of construction defect. To ensure you protect your property and your investment, you need file suit within the applicable time periods for a construction defect case. Here’s a look at the statute of limitations for construction defects.
Overview of the Statute of Limitations
The first element of construction defect statutes of limitation in California are the statutes that provide the general periods of repose, or outside limits to a construction defect claim. These are found in California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 337.1 and 337.15. These statutes provide a four year time period for patent (visible defects) and a 10-year time period for patent (hidden) defects. These time periods generally start to run from the date of substantial completion or first occupancy, and thus apply to new construction. However, other statutes of limitation come into play, especially once the defect is discovered, particularly for latent defects.
Breach of Contract
The statute of limitations for breach of contract in California, such as a contract to purchase a home, is four years. Once a defect is discovered or the owner becomes aware of the breach, an owner would generally have four years from that date in which to file suit against the other party to the contract for the purchase, sale or construction of the property.
Injury or Damage to Real Property
The statute of limitations in California for injury or damage to real property is three years. Once a defect is discovered or the owner becomes aware of the defect, an owner would generally have three years from that date in which to file a lawsuit. This would generally include all claims against any builder, contractor or other person involved with causing the defect and the harm caused by the defect.
The statute of limitations in California for fraud is three years from the date the fraud was discovered. Once the fraud is discovered or the owner is on notice and has three years in which to file a lawsuit.
What to Do When You Find a Defect
When you find any sort of defect in construction around your property, the first step you should take is to contact an experienced construction defect attorney. The statutes of limitation are critical to your claim and require the expertise of an attorney to understand and apply to your case. An attorney can help you navigate the law and ensure you take all necessary steps to properly evaluate the claim, the statutes of limitation and to file suit.
Working With a California Construction Defect Attorney
If you have construction defects or are concerned that you may have a construction-related claim, give us a call for a free consultation. At Norton & Associates, we take pride in helping property owners navigate the complex laws that govern construction defect cases. Call today at 310-706-4134. We’re here to help.