Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my home suffers from defects?
If you have any type of water intrusion into your home, such as from roofs, windows or doors, chances are that those components were installed improperly. Excessive cracking of stucco, drywall or concrete is also typical of defective construction. Plumbing leaks are a very common complaint as well.
How do I calculate the statute of limitations?
In California, the following statutes of limitations govern how much time you have to file a claim (lawsuit) against a wrongdoer for construction defects:
Patent Defects are those defects that are "apparent by reasonable inspection." This type of defect is governed by CA C.C.P. §337.1 and allows the plaintiff 4 years from the date of substantial completion to bring an action.
Latent Defects are those defects that are those defects that are "not apparent by reasonable inspection." This type of defect is governed by CA C.C.P. §337.15 and allows the plaintiff 10 years from the date of substantial completion to bring an action.
Can I file a claim if I am not the original owner?
Yes. Ninety-nine percent of the time we will able to represent you against the builder regardless of whether or not you are the original owner. The best way to answer this question is to call or e-mail us. We can quickly advise you.
What if the developer continues to make repairs?
We tell our clients that if the developer is making proper, permanent repairs, let them continue too do so. However, it is critical that the repairs are proper and permanent. If you are not sure if their repair is an adequate one, give us a call or send us an e-mail. We will advise of what to do.
What if the builder refuses to make repairs?
All too often, homeowners get a negative response from the builder. We advise our clients to keep a written record of their requests to make repairs and log any conversations with the builder. Very often there is not much you can do to force the builder to make repairs other than filing a claim. If they absolutely refuse to make any repairs, give us a call or send us an e-mail. Every situation is different.
If my home is chosen for intrusive testing, what areas of my home will be tested?
Typically, on the exterior, we will open up a few areas on the roof as well as a few small sections of stucco. On the interior, a small section of drywall is usually opened up below one or two windows so that those windows can be tested. Our construction experts, fenestration experts and structural experts may open up a few small sections of drywall to check structural connections and shear walls if that is an issues in the case. Our plumbing-mechanical expert may open up a wall behind a shower to check for installation deficiencies. Very often we find windows and showers that are leaking in the wall cavity, unbeknownst to the homeowner.
If I do sell, what do I have to disclose to the new buyer?
Any time you sell your home, lawsuit or no lawsuit, you need to disclose all known defects and issues with the house. This is generally referred to as a Transfer Disclosure Statement and is governed by CA Civil Code §1102 et. seq. This is a ripe area for litigation as sellers many times fail to properly identify known defects or repairs made.
If I live in an HOA, who is the plaintiff?
The plaintiff is the Association and the Association's Board of Directors retains us.
Does a Board of Directors in an HOA need the member's permission to file a claim?
Usually, no. The Board of Directors is responsible for acting in the best interest of the association members. If that means filing a claim to protect the members' interests, they almost always have the authority to do so under the CC& R's. However, we do advise Boards to keep the homeowners in the loop at all times.
How hard is it to refinance my home during pending litigation?
There has been so much construction defect litigation over the last ten years or so that banks understand the construction defect litigation process and realize that it can be beneficial to the homeowner as well as the bank's interest in the home. We typically help in the process by advising the bank of the situation and working with them to achieve a favorable resolution.
How long will the lawsuit take?
Depending on numerous factors, including a case's complexity, construction lawsuits usually take between eighteen months and three years.