Board-Certified In Construction Law By The Florida Bar

A closer look at the legal timeframes governing condo defect cases

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2014 | Construction Law

Last time, our blog started discussing how condominium law is an extremely intricate subset of real estate law complete with various legal remedies for parties victimized by construction defects, and complex statutes of limitations that must be adhered to in order to pursue a claim.

To illustrate, Florida law dictates that when Condominium Associations discover pervasive construction defects and/or construction defects with common elements, they can seek justice in a court of law by filing construction defect claims on behalf of the entire complex.

As encouraging as this news is, it’s important for these Condominium Associations to be aware that the legal clock is ticking when it comes to their ability to pursue justice.

Indeed, Florida law states that the applicable statute of limitations for Condominium Associations to file a lawsuit relating to design, planning or construction defects is four years from the time in which the developer or contractor relinquishes control of the complex (i.e., a certificate of occupancy is issued).

This naturally begs the question as to what happens if problems develop after this four-year statute of limitations has passed.    

Is the Condominium Association out of luck?

The good news is that Florida still provides Condominium Associations with some options for relief as it relates to so-called latent defects.

Under state law, latent defects are essentially construction defects that are otherwise hidden and which have gone undiscovered by the Condominium Association despite its best efforts in the time since the statute of limitations passed.

It’s important to understand, however, that a Condominium Association doesn’t then have the ability to file a latent defect lawsuit in perpetuity. Indeed, a state law known as the statute of repose sets a strict timeframe in which these lawsuits can be filed — 10 years from the date that the complex’s original certificate of occupancy is issued.

If you would like to learn more about your rights and your options as they relate to condominium defects, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.