So you have signed on the dotted line and moved into your newly purchased home. Unexpectedly, there seems to be a problem with what you think is defective construction. What remedies do you have and what are your legal rights?
Fortunately, Arizona allows property owners a couple of legal remedies against builders and contractors for proven defective construction. But first, in the buying process you should have hired a home inspector, and maybe even other more specialized inspectors to evaluate the roof, HVAC inspection, electrical, pool inspection and other conditions of the property. Review those reports and see if the defects were pointed out in the first place and were known before the closing. If they are not in the report, you’ll want to hire an inspector for a professional opinion, since these items are taken very seriously by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC).
The critical piece of the puzzle before proceeding is a professional opinion that the construction work was performed in a less than workmanlike manner. If that seems to be the case, here are the three options a homeowner can take:
1. File a complaint with the ROC. The homeowner can file a complaint against the builder or contractor’s license with the ROC. The ROC will then schedule an inspector from the Registrar’s office to visit and inspect the property, and meet with the homeowner and contractor. Keep in mind that there is a limited time period of two years from the date of occupancy in which to submit a claim.
2. File a civil lawsuit for damages. The homeowner can file a civil lawsuit for damages based on breach of express or implied warranty, a potential breach of contract or just plain negligence. If a homeowner selects this option, more than likely, they will need the professional help of an attorney.
3. Obtain an administrative hearing. If the work is not able to be corrected due to either irreparable damage or the contractor is no longer licensed to do the work, the property owner may elect to have an administrative hearing. An administrative hearing involves a judge who is tasked to make a decision on the evidence presented and, if awarded, the consumer can submit a claim for any type of compensation under the Registrar’s Residential Contractor Recovery Fund. Of course, there is a maximum amount you can receive from the Recovery Fund.
This is a very simplistic presentation of possible remedies for a homeowner, but it’s a solid basis to begin the process if you feel your home has defective workmanship.
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The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255