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How SB 800 affects litigation for construction defects

If you have a newly constructed California home, you likely walked the property, checked all the switches and tested doors at the final walk-through. However, now that you have been in the home for a year or so, you may realize that the roof is leaking, or every light you plug into a specific socket needs a bulb replaced every few months. These issues may be a result of construction defects. At Tsao-Wu & Yee LLP, we have experience in obtaining positive resolution in a variety of construction disputes including defects.

According to FindLaw, construction defect litigation is among the reasons construction insurance costs skyrocketed in recent years. The state legislature passed SB 800, which defines several pre-litigation procedures that must take place before further legal action proceeds. The law provides builders the opportunity to correct defects, without worrying about litigation.

The homeowner must provide written notice of a potential lawsuit, with reasonable detail, to the builder. The builder must acknowledge the notice within 14 days and inspect within two weeks of the acknowledgement. A repair plan addressing the issue and including payment for specific SB 800 damages is due within 30 days of the inspection completion. Homeowners can accept the offer, request the names of three alternate contractors to perform the repair or ask for mediation.

There are strict timeframes that address how long mediation can last and for correcting the issue. The builder covers the cost to fix the problem as well as any additional damages or expenses that occur as a result of the repair. Unfortunately, this process is not black and white. Builders also may avail themselves of several affirmative defenses.

Following the legal process and complying with SB800 can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive for both parties, depending on the issue and if additional damage occurred as a result. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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