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Changes to Florida’s Defect Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose

Earlier this year, there was a significant change to Florida’s construction laws that may have a bigger impact on property owners than initially anticipated. The statute of repose, which was previously set at 10 years, has now been reduced to 7 years with the passing of Senate Bill 360.

The statute of limitations, along with the statute of repose, governs the time limits for parties to bring claims for construction defects. A construction defect claim must typically be filed within 4 years of specific events, such as the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. However, if a latent defect (a hidden or concealed defect) is discovered, the claim can be brought later. Previously, even with a latent defect, owners were barred from filing a lawsuit if 10 years had passed since the completion of the construction project. Now, this limit has been shortened to 7 years. See F.S. § 95.11(3)(c)

With this change, we may also see a reduction in the standard warranties offered by construction companies, which were often set at 10 years to align with the previous statute of repose. Now, the shorter 7-year limit will likely impact warranty terms as well. The recent amendment also includes clarifications regarding the triggers for the time period, incorporating the issuance of a temporary certificate of occupancy, and updating certain language while removing others.

It’s essential to note that July 1, 2024, marks the deadline for filing any claims under the previous language of the statute. Therefore, if you have a potential construction defect claim falling under the previous 10-year limit, it’s crucial to act before this date.

Navigating the legal complexities related to property purchase and construction can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Seeking assistance from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can make the process smoother and more successful.

At WM, our team is well-equipped to provide comprehensive support for those involved in construction projects or home purchases. Combining real estate and construction expertise, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the legal intricacies of these situations. Should you have any questions about the process or need legal guidance, feel free to reach out to attorney Mason Williams or a member of our team.