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Construction Law Authority / Construction Defects  / A Condominium Association Must Beware of Deadlines to Sue For Building Defects

A Condominium Association Must Beware of Deadlines to Sue For Building Defects

Halloween is a spooky time of year.  But Condominium Associations in Florida should always beware of looming deadlines if it believes it was saddled with construction defects before turnover from the developer.  Condominium owners in Florida are very fortunate to have various legal rights for construction defects against the parties responsible for the selling, design and construction of a Condominium unit.  If the construction defects are widespread throughout the Condominium property, the Condominium Association can bring construction defect claims on behalf of all owners.  However, nothing lasts forever, especially the right to sue for building defects.

In Florida, the time frame (Statute of Limitations) within which a Condominium Association may file a lawsuit for construction defects on behalf of its owners is only 4 years from the time the Condominium Association knew or should have known of the defect(s).  But what if that 4 years has passed and new defects are just discovered?  There may still be time.  A Condominium Association may still pursue a claim for latent defects.  A latent defect is a one which is not discovered through the exercise of due diligence, for the period of 4 years from the time the defect was actually discovered.  But this too does not last forever, because of something called the Statute of Repose.  While the Condominium Association may still be able to file a lawsuit under the Statute of Limitations for 4 years from the time the defect was discovered, the Statute of Repose cuts off all construction claims after 10 years, preventing a construction defect lawsuit from being filed after 10 years from the date the building received its original Certificate of Occupancy.

The critical questions to ask is when did this defect rear its ugly head so as to be considered latent, and did the Condominium building receive its Certificate of Occupancy within the last 10 years?  If the answers are yes, then your Condominium Association may still be one of the lucky ones that can seek construction accountability, via a lawsuit if necessary.

Mark Stempler

Mr. Stempler focuses his practice in the areas of construction litigation, government bid protests, and civil litigation. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Construction Law, and is certified as a LEED Green Associate by the United States Green Building Council. He represents clients in commercial and residential construction lawsuits, involving defects, delays, contractual disputes, mold claims, liens and lien disputes, bond claims, and insurance disputes. Clients include owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, sureties, and manufacturers.

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