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Construction Defects and Florida Statutes Chapter 558

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The Florida legislature has found that there are out of court methods that are beneficial to resolving construction defect disputes.  These methods increase judicial economy and reduce the amount of defect cases that come through the courts.  This administrative means of resolving defect issues also ensures that the process is speedy for the parties involved.  The law governing this process can be found in Florida Statutes Chapter 558.  This statute outlines the reasoning behind this practice, the process, and the legal consequences that follow depending on outcomes.

Why is an Administrative Process Better?

The Florida legislation has made a finding that the defects dispute resolution process reduces the need for lengthy litigation and also protects the rights of property owners. Florida sees the process as a dispute resolution mechanism.  This process starts with the claiming party filing a notice with the contractor or the entity who delivered the service or goods. After notice is received, the contractor is provided an opportunity to resolve the issue.  The Florida legislature sees a confidential settlement negotiation process as more beneficial than resorting to a legal recourse.

Claimant’s Notice

As described above, the claimant must give notice to the contractor when the defect is discovered.  According to section (1)(a) of Chapter 558, in an action that alleges a construction defect, the claimant has 60 days before filing any formal legal action to serve notice on the contractor.  The notice should be served on the person who the claimant contracted with if the work performed was done under contract.  The notice of claim must describe in reasonable detail the nature of the construction defect and the damage or loss that results from the defect.  The notice must also identify the location of each defect to enable the responding party to find the location of the defect.  Surprisingly, the threshold for describing the defect is not burdensome.  For example, the claimant has no obligation to perform testing for the purpose of describing the defect.

Contractor’s Opportunity to Repair  

The person served notice of the defect has 30 days from the date of service to perform an inspection of the property to verify or deny the claims made in the notice.  The claimant must, in turn, provide the person served with notice reasonable access to the property for them to complete the required inspection.  The two parties must coordinate the timing and the details  of the inspection.  Unlike the claimant’s cursory inspection of the defect, the contractor’s inspection may include destructive testing so far as the destruction is under a mutual agreement.  The contractor must notify the claimant immediately to inform them of the determination to conduct inspection by destruction.

Fort Lauderdale Construction Law Attorney

Brendan A. Sweeney is a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale construction attorney with years of experience advising on Florida’s construction defects settlement process under Florida Statutes Chapter 558. Sweeney Law is highly experienced in this area and is ready to guide you through the construction defect notice and response processes. Contact us now for a consultation.

Resource:

law.cornell.edu/wex/alternative_dispute_resolution

https://www.sweeneylawpa.com/rights-obligations-under-floridas-workers-compensation-law/

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