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Builder warranties in California

Most firms in California that are engaged in building new homes use a written contract to set forth the terms of the contract with their customers. Knowledgeable builders want their standard contracts to contain all of the pertinent terms of the agreements with their customers, but one category of such terms is often overlooked: warranties created and imposed by California statutes that regulate the state's construction law.

The California Civil Code sets forth a long and detailed list of defects that can serve as the basis for the recovery of damages by a homeowner against the builder. The complete list is far too long to be included or effectively summarized in this post, but the general policy behind the statute is that any defect is actionable if it causes damage.

Specific provisions cover conditions such as water infiltration, cracks in foundations and slabs, earthquake resistance and soils engineering and grading. Most kinds of construction defects are on this list in one form or another.

The statute also specifies a list of procedure that must be followed by the homeowner and the builder before a dispute becomes a lawsuit. Failure to follow these procedures can result in the homeowner waiving a claim or a builder waiving a valid defense.

Any contractor engaged in the construction of new homes will want to become familiar with the terms of this statute. A consultation with an experienced construction law attorney can also be very helpful. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide advice on specific provision and how they apply to specific situations.

Source: California Civil Code §896 and §910, accessed on May 2, 2016

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