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What actually caused that home defect?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Real Estate Disputes |

In some cases, construction litigation will revolve around a patent defect. This is something that is usually obvious right away, so it can make the defect claim fairly straightforward. For example, if the pipes were installed improperly in a new build and there’s already leaking and water damage, it’s clear that the construction project is not up to the standards that the homeowner expected. A contractor or subcontractor may be responsible.

But things can get a bit more complicated with latent defects. These are hidden defects. They will eventually come to light, but it could take some time for them to do so. This delay can raise questions about what actually caused the problem.

Why would this cause a dispute?

For example, imagine that there’s a leak in the roof of a new home, which should have theoretically lasted for the next 20 to 30 years. The leak has caused extensive water damage within the house.

If that leak was discovered as soon as the owner began living in the property, they would know that there was inherently a problem with the roof. Maybe the shingles were installed incorrectly.

But if the defect is hidden and isn’t obvious right away, the homeowner may not discover it for a few years. Say that they find that a slow leak has been causing water damage for the last five years that they’ve lived in the house.

The issue here is that the homeowner may claim the roof was installed incorrectly. At the same time, the company that did the job may counter that the roof was perhaps damaged in a storm or damaged by the homeowner themselves. After all, that company hasn’t touched the roof in five years, so they have no idea if they actually caused the leak or not.

If you find yourself involved in such a dispute, be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.



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