Can You Hold The Builder Responsible For New Home Defects?

Posted on: 14 April 2015


If you recently had a new home built, you might find that in the coming months, there are certain defects you were not aware of. Many defects occur over the course of the first year, but are not made obvious when the home is first built. If your home was built in the summer, it might not be until winter that you realize there is a draft through your brand new windows. These types of defects might be something you can hold the builder responsible for.

Warranty for New Construction

In most cases, the builder that constructed your home will have presented you with a warranty. This warranty is meant to cover basic defects that occur within the terms of the warranty. This warranty provides you extra protection against unforeseen constructional defects, since your homeowner's insurance policy won't cover this type of damage. You first need to check your warranty to find out exactly what it covers and how long the term is for. It might only be for one year, while others are for ten years.

What is Covered Under a Builder's Warranty

The "what" is one of the most important things to find out about your home's warranty. There will be specific details in the warranty's terms that tell you what damages your builder will cover. For example, it might include two years of coverage for flooring and carpeting, roofing, paint, and the HVAC system that was installed. It will also likely mention that these defects must be original defects from the building process and not lack of maintenance. If you are tracking heavy tools through your home and accidentally drop one on the flooring, the damage is your fault, not the builder's. However, if you find that the flooring caved in due to negligence when installing the flooring, that is the builder's fault.

Warranty Exclusions

As with all warranties, the builder's warranty will have certain exclusions. This will be a list of damage and events that are not covered under the warranty. Every warranty is different, but the following lists some common exclusions:

  • Damage from outside influences, such as animals, vehicles, or rioters
  • Deterioration at an expected rate or due to natural disasters and weather conditions
  • Damage caused by the owner due to neglect or misuse
  • Lack of proper maintenance of the home, such as having the roof inspected
  • Damage caused by others working on the property, such as a landscaper

If you feel that the defects are the builder's doing and not a listed exclusion and you are within the warranty date, they should be responsible for the repair. If they still refuse to make repairs, it is time to call a real estate lawyer like Rella Paolini & Rogers Lawyers. They can help with these legal situations, since many warranties are legal documents.