Maybe you’ve recently undergone a remodeling project in your home, and have found that the construction seems shoddy, or has started to fall apart. Perhaps you’ve found pools of water or water damage, and believe that a window or door may be leaking. Construction defects can become hugely expensive to fix, and lead to damage to the underlying structure of the home. As experienced Anne Arundel County real estate attorneys, we are frequently called upon to advise clients and represent them regarding construction defects. Below are some answers to common questions we frequently get asked about construction defects.
What makes for a “construction defect” under the law?
A construction defect is anything done to your home or condominium that reduces its value due to poor workmanship or faulty design.
What are common defects?
One very common defect, which can in turn lead to additional issues, is a leaky façade or water seeping through improperly installed windows or doors. This sort of defect can increase your heating and cooling bills, can lead to widespread mold, and can even lead to damage of the structure from extensive water damage. Another common defect is faulty electrical work, which can damage expensive electronics, and even lead to fires. If a city inspector finds that your home does not meet relevant building codes after construction is complete, you may have a claim for a design defect.
What happens if I don’t notice the defect for a long time?
There are two main types of construction defects: patent and latent. If a defect is visible for anyone to see and should be obvious to the homeowner, then it is considered “patent.” If the defect is hidden, and only becomes evident after, for example, a serious rainstorm or after the passage of some time, then it will be considered “latent.” While statutes of limitation will keep you from filing a lawsuit after a certain length of time after you discover the defect, that point in time may be later if the defect is latent, since you would not be expected to know about a hidden defect. A skilled inspector or construction expert can examine your home and support a claim that you had no way to know about the defect prior to discovering the damage.
What if I repair the defect, but still want to recover damages for the defect?
Even if you’re forced to take immediate action to repair your home due to the defect, you can still recover against the contractor, subcontractor, architect, developer, or builder for the flaw. In fact, if the defect were left unrepaired and resulted in an even greater loss in value to your home, the court may find that you are not entitled to the greater damages caused by the fact that you didn’t stop the problem from getting worse.
If you’ve been the victim of defective construction or a fraudulent or negligent contractor, contact an attorney who understands the law and knows how to prove complex construction causes of action in court. For a free consultation on your D.C. or Maryland construction defect claim, contact the experienced Anne Arundel construction and real estate attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew Evans III, LLC, at 410-626-6009.