The Florida Supreme Court recently handed down a decision in Gindel v. Centex that impacts Florida’s statute of repose and its relationship with construction defect claims. The statute of repose requires a claimant to commence an action within a specific time period or be barred from bringing the claim. The statute of repose is ten years from the date of possession of the property by the owner, issuance of certificate of occupancy, date of abandonment of work, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the engineer, architect, or licensed contractor and the employer, whichever is last to occur.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, commencement of an action typically was understood as the filing of a complaint. This meant that a homeowner wishing to pursue a claim for construction defect must file a complaint within the 10-year statute of repose period. Today, a homeowner who files the mandatory Chapter 558 pre-suit notice of defect is considered to have commenced an action for statute of repose purposes.
Chapter 558’s pre-suit notice requires the claimant to provide the notice 60 days before filing any action. The Supreme Court’s determination that pre-suit notice is an action gives claimants an additional 60 days to seek relief for construction defects. Contractors will need to take this decision into account when determining whether a construction defect claim has been filed before the statute of repose period ended.
Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.