For those who have made a new home purchase and it isn’t quite up to par, you have recourse. If you notice your doors aren’t straight, or your home isn’t matching up to what you were promised, the builders have a requirement to fix. If you notice the gas lines have improper installation, or the water pressure is too weak, your builder must comply with your demands. If the builder fails to comply with your requests, then they are violating the terms found under the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act.
What is the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act?
When you’re building or purchasing a new home, or if you’re a residential building contractor in the state of Louisiana, it’s essential you have a firm understanding of the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act. In doing so, you’ll understand that exclusive warranties, preemptive periods, and remedies between the owner and builder relative to home construction. A warranty for new home purchases is found under this act, in addition to definitions for the responsibilities of the builder throughout this warranty.
Specific Warranties Provided:
- 1 Year: The builder provides a warranty that the home will remain free from defects due to being incompliant with building standards, as well as those defects building standards that are not regulated for one year after the date of warranty commencement.
- 2 Years: The builder provides a warranty for all cooling, electrical, heating, plumbing, and ventilation systems for two years following the date the warranty commences.
- 5 Years: The builder provides a warranty that the home will remain free from all structural defects to include foundation systems, in addition to other defects building standards, are that do not have regulation, for five years following the warranty’s date of commencement.
What is Not the Builder’s Requirement to Fix?
There are certain exceptions to the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act. It’s essential that owners of a new home or new construction understand that there are exceptions that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Bodily Injuries
- Insect damage
- Mold damage
How to Notify the Builder
When homeowners notice that there are defects in their new home, it’s their responsibility to notify the builder immediately. Under the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act, they must provide the builder with a written notice and send it through either certified or registered mail. In doing so, you’re ensuring that you have proof that this notice was sent out and received by the builder.
This notice must be sent out to the builder within one year of the homeowner noticing the defect. If the homeowner fails to comply with the deliverance of this notice, it may forfeit their claim against the builder and any requirements they have to fix.
What Happens if the Property Owner Attempts to Remedy?
If the property owner attempts to remedy the situation without giving the builder enough time to respond, then they’re breaching the warranty. Because the builder is being provided with a written notice, they must be given adequate time to comply before the homeowner hires a third party to remedy the situation. It’s rare for builders not to comply with a written notice. However, if they don’t, according to La. R.S. 9:3149(A), “any affected owner shall have a cause of action against the builder for actual damages, including attorney fees and court costs, arising out of the violation.”
What Recourse Does the Homeowner Have?
If the builder doesn’t comply with their requirements to fix, then it’s within the homeowner’s rights to bring up a claim against them. The claim can include what the homeowner is seeking for damages, as well as attorney fees. The homeowner must bring these actions within 30 days of the expiration date of the warranty. When a homeowner is seeking damages, they cannot exceed the original cost of the home or the reasonable cost of repairing the defects.
Securing Adequate Representation
Even though the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act provides clarification regarding the remedies and rights available when problems arise with new construction, litigation could become challenging. Providing defenses of these claims could also present difficulties, as well. Therefore, when these issues occur, it’s essential that you consult with an experienced attorney who can point you in the right direction and ensure the best possible outcome.