As a Florida engineer, contractor or subcontractor, it is essential for you to be able to complete a construction project without defects to avoid litigation. Florida laws regarding construction defect claims may seem to favor the person who takes possession of the property, though, because it is possible for the owner to file an action against you for several years afterward. At Welbaum Guernsey, we understand that Florida law has two separate statutes governing when construction litigation may take place, and these include specific factors.
The Florida statute of limitations states that an owner may file a claim against you for a construction defect up to four years after the project. The first day of that four-year period begins after the latest of the following activities takes place:
- The owner takes possession of the property
- The certificate of occupancy is issued
- The construction is abandoned, if you did not complete the project
- The date that you completed or terminated the contract
The latest of these four events to occur is also the start date for the statute of repose. This Florida statute limits the amount of time that an owner has to file a claim against you if he or she discovers a latent defect. This type of flaw in the design or construction of a building is one that could not have been discovered except through the use of the property, and the owner has 10 years in which to file in this case. Other factors may also affect the time frame for a claim to be filed. There is more information on Florida’s construction-related laws available on our website.