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SB 800 and What It Means to You

After SB800 or rather the Right to Repair ACT was enacted on January 1, 2003, buyers, sellers, and contractors alike wanted to know what this would mean for them. SB800 establishes the procedure that homeowners who have claims for defects in the construction of their homes would have to follow in order to satisfy those claims.

The bill notes these claims that are levied against anyone who has participated in the production of the home such as builders, subcontractors, developers, product manufacturers, and design professionals of newer construction property. The bill outlines that it does not apply to condo conversions.

The bill outlines what exactly qualifies as a defect is in a home and makes sure that homeowners will have to comply with the process before they can file a suit for any of the deficiencies in the home. In order to file a lawsuit homeowner must specifically follow these rules:

  1. First, submit a written claim to the builder.
  2. The builder then has 14 days to acknowledge the claim and determine if an inspection is requested as well as make that request.

 

Afterward, there will be a series of reactions and replies that all have deadlines. One case: If the builder offers to repair or solve this request must be made within 30 days of the inspection and the homeowners have to accept that offer in that time period. If the person making the claim wants another builder to do the work, the original builder will have 35 days to provide three alternate contractors for the homeowner to select.

Clearly, this can become extremely complicated and could result in a few missed deadlines. If it any point during this process the contractor misses any deadlines or fails to present what is being requested, the homeowner will be released from the process of having to offer the builder the chance to make repairs and then can finally proceed forward with a lawsuit. Therefore, as a builder or as a homeowner it’s really important to understand and familiarize yourself with SB800.

For builders, it will be important to acknowledge the claim within 14 days and immediately request an inspection. Even if the homeowner does not outline the defects it is really important as a builder that you protect yourself by making sure you respond. If your name and address are provided you are required to respond in 14 days. Seek legal advice if you are unsure. Neglect could result in a costly dispute and actual repairs may be significantly less than the cost of litigation that may have to be paid if the proper steps are not followed.

Just like the process can be stringent for builders; homeowners have to make sure that they serve the claim letter by overnight delivery, certified delivery, or personal delivery to make sure that the builder has actual notice. While the consequences aren’t as established for negligence there could be consequences in the future.

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