3 Tips If 2016’s Record Setting Rainfall Made Its Way into Your Home

January 4, 2017

2016 marked Minnesota’s wettest year on record. Unfortunately for some, with record-setting rainfall comes water problems with their homes. Water intrusion often means there is a construction defect with your home. Below are three critical things to keep in mind if you found water in your home after this particularly waterlogged year.

1. The Passing of Time is Your Enemy
Clients often believe that it is in their interest to engage in protracted negotiations with their builder to resolve a dispute related to a construction defect. What many clients do not realize, however, is that the law imposes strict deadlines upon them to bring their claim (i.e., sue). If you wait too long, you risk that a court will dismiss your claim -even if your claim has merit. These statutes of limitations and statutes of repose exist to prevent stale litigation but they can be a death knell to the claims of an owner who waits too long to sue.

2. Your Contract is Key
If you think you have a construction defect, the most important document is your contract with your builder. Through the contract, the builder may extend or disclaim various warranties to you, the owner. Additionally, the contract may describe the responsibilities of the parties in the event of a dispute. If you don’t follow these requirements, you may breach your contract. The contract may also indicate whether you or your builder is responsible for reimbursing the prevailing party for its attorney’s fees. This is a crucial provision that should not be taken lightly.

3. If You Intend on Making a 327A Statutory Warranty Claim, You Must First Give Your Builder a Chance to Fix the Problem
In most situations, you may immediately sue your builder for a construction defect. If you intend to bring a claim pursuant to Minn. Stat. ch. 327A, however, you must first provide your builder with notice-and-opportunity to fix the defect. After receiving the notice, the builder has 30 days to respond. Upon receiving the builder’s response, the statute contemplates that the owner and builder engage in an interactive process to resolve the dispute. Only after the builder fails to resolve the owner’s concerns may the owner commence litigation. Significantly, during this process, the statutes of limitation and repose are tolled (i.e., paused).

If you think you have a water intrusion problem in your home, follow these tips. Contractors often do everything they can to ensure customer satisfaction and fix problems. If questions about the process remain, contact an attorney for assistance.