A patent defect is considered by some to be a “normal” construction defect. This is the type of problem that is fairly obvious and will be caught either by the construction team or a home inspector. Ideally, this type of defect will be found and corrected long before the owner takes possession of that property.
But there’s another type of construction defect that can sometimes come up, and this can be important if you work as a contractor and you’re worried about facing disputes over defects on the property. A latent defect is much different, and it can create something of a gray area when it comes to liability.
A hidden defect
Essentially, latent defects are just issues that are hidden, and so they sometimes go undetected. This is true even though the defect does exist and there’s a problem with the property.
For example, if the foundations or footings for the building were not poured properly, it can settle unevenly. This can cause cracks in the foundation or in the walls. When the building settles too much, everything gets out of the square and many different problems can crop up inside the building.
However, it may take years for the building to settle this far and for the issues to become apparent. On top of that, there may be a lot of questions about what caused the damage. Did the home really settle because the footings weren’t poured properly, or is it just a result of the weather in the area? Is damage in the home really from that settling action, or has the homeowner damaged the house over the years on their own?
These questions become very important because latent defects are more likely to cause disputes. If you find yourself involved in one, be sure you know what options you have.