New law shortens statute of limitations for construction defect lawsuits

Published Date: April 16, 2023

On April 13th, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 360 into law, which brought significant changes to the statute of limitations for construction defect lawsuits in the state. The key provisions of the new law are:

 

Shortened Statute of Limitations: The new law reduces the statute of limitations for property owners to file construction defect lawsuits from ten years to seven years. This change aims to streamline the legal process and bring greater efficiency to such cases.

Individual Dwelling Consideration: Under the revised law, each individual dwelling within a project comprising multiple buildings, such as apartment complexes or condo buildings, will be treated separately for determining the limitations period. This means that the statute of limitations and statute of repose will be calculated independently for each building rather than applying to the entire project as a whole.

Definition of Material Defect: The legislation introduces a clear definition of a “material defect,” describing it as a violation of the Florida Building Code that results in physical harm to individuals or significant damage to a building’s performance or systems.

Fines for Non-Compliance: Builders who fail to rectify material violations within a reasonable timeframe will be subject to fines. These fines can range from $500 to $5,000, as outlined in the legislation.

 

The enactment of a new law has notably shortened the statute of limitations for construction defect lawsuits, placing a renewed emphasis on timely legal action in cases of  faulty construction. This legal shift has far-reaching implications for both property owners and construction professionals, ushering in a more time-sensitive approach to addressing and resolving issues related to substandard construction practices.

This amendment to the statute of limitations is part of broader tort reform efforts in Florida. It follows the signing of House Bill 837, which imposes limitations on lawsuits, making it more challenging for individuals to take legal action against insurance companies. This bill also modifies Florida’s comparative negligence system and introduces changes to the state’s “bad faith” framework for holding insurance companies accountable.

The combined effect of these legislative changes is expected to impact the legal landscape in Florida, particularly in cases related to construction defects and insurance claims.

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Click here to read the original Article By Caden Delisa – The Capitalist

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