The Florida Construction Defect Statute: What You Need To Know If You Are Involved In A Contested Construction Defect Claim

Fri Oct 13th, 2023 on     Insurance Claims,    

Ver Ploeg & Marino is a leader in assisting policyholders throughout Florida in recovering the compensation they are owed. A Miami property insurance lawyer from our firm can advise you as to your rights and what you can expect throughout the recovery process. As our firm focuses solely on upholding the rights of policyholders, we know the law surrounding this area and stay on top of any changes or new legislation that arises. Being up-to-date in this area requires a working knowledge and understanding of the Florida Construction Defect Statute

A Miami Property Insurance Lawyer Explains Applicability of the Florida Construction Defect Statute

The Florida Construction Defect Statute (“the statute”) defines a construction defect as “a deficiency in, or a deficiency arising out of, the design, specifications, surveying, planning, supervision, observation of construction, or construction, repair, alteration, or remodeling of real property resulting from:

(a) Defective material, products, or components used in the construction or remodeling;

(b) A violation of the applicable codes in effect at the time of construction or remodeling which gives rise to a cause of action pursuant to s. 553.84;

(c) A failure of the design of real property to meet the applicable professional standards of care at the time of governmental approval; or

(d) A failure to construct or remodel real property in accordance with accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction at the time of construction.”

The Importance of the Notice and Opportunity to Repair Requirements

The statute states that an action (or lawsuit) can only be filed under the terms of the statute when the claimant has completed a certain amount of requirements. A failure to comply with these requirements before filing an action will result in an action that does not move forward. “(O)n timely motion by a party to the action the court shall stay the action, without prejudice, and the action may not proceed until the claimant has complied with such requirements. The notice requirement is not intended to interfere with an owner’s ability to complete a project that has not been substantially completed. The notice is not required for a project that has not reached the stage of completion of the building or improvement.” A Miami property insurance lawyer can help you determine the notices and requirements that must be met. 

Notices and Opportunity to Repair Requirements Under the Florida Construction Defect Statute

The notices and opportunity to repair requirements under the statute are specific and must be met within certain time frames. All requirements are listed in the statute, and some of the most prominent requirements are listed below. For clarification, contact our firm and speak with a Miami property insurance lawyer.

A written notice of claim must be served within at least 60 days before any action is filed (120 days before filing an action involving an association representing more than 20 parcels). This notice of claim must include the nature of each defect as well as the damage or loss resulting from that damage (if known). This notice is typically served on the contractor (although it may vary).  

During the time after the notice is served and before a lawsuit is filed, a contractor has 30 days to inspect the defects and they have a limited amount of time (10 days) to serve any subcontractors or other party they feel may be responsible for the defects as well. The contractor also has a 45-day period after receiving the notice (or 75 days if the claim involves more than 20 parcels) to serve a written response to the claimant. This written notice must:

  • Provide an offer to remedy the defect at no cost to the claimant, a detailed description of the proposed repairs necessary to remedy the defect as well as a timetable for the completion of the repairs;
  • Provide an offer to compromise with the claimant and settle the matter with a monetary payment as well as a timetable for making the payment;
  • Provide an offer to compromise by paying a certain amount of money combined with certain repairs as well as a timetable for when each shall occur;
  • Provide a statement that they dispute the claim and will not be making any offers to remedy the claim; or
  • Provide a statement that a monetary payment, including insurance proceeds, if any, will be determined by the person’s insurer within 30 days after notification to the insurer by means of serving the claim, which service shall occur at the same time the claimant is notified of this settlement option, which the claimant may accept or reject. 

The party that receives a settlement offer has 45 days to accept or reject it. They should not file litigation until they have accepted or rejected the offer. 

New Legislation Regarding the Time Allowed for Filing A Lawsuit for Construction Defects

Florida Senate Bill 360 was enacted this year and it provides for several significant changes regarding the time allowed to file a lawsuit for construction defects. Among other changes, the statute of repose for latent defects was reduced from ten years to seven years. The new bill also revised the way this time period is calculated. Commencement of the seven-year statute of repose now commences from whatever triggering event has the earliest date rather than the latest. 

The triggering event for the commencement of the four-year statute of limitations for patent defects also changed from the latest date to the earliest date. A Miami property insurance lawyer at our firm can explain these changes to you. 

Consult With A Miami Property Insurance Lawyer at Ver Ploeg & Marino

If you are facing an insurance coverage dispute due to construction defects, a Miami property insurance lawyer from Ver Ploeg & Marino can help. We are fierce advocates for policyholders who need assistance with obtaining the coverage they need under the terms of their liability policies and we may be reached via our contact page.

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