By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Developers and construction companies were able to push through changes to Arizona’s statutes involving construction defect disputes. As of July 2015, builders have a right to cure alleged defects as claimed by homeowners. Additionally, the party who prevails in a legal suit can no longer recover legal fees. Homeowners and Builders must each cover their own legal fees.
Watch the Channel 5 KPHO video below, which explains the reasons for the legislative changes, and how these changes may not be good for homeowners.
Opponents say new law makes it harder to sue construction companies over defects
Keep in mind that big developers also have big bankrolls and insurance policies that foot the bill for their legal defense and payment of settlements. Homeowners are automatically at a disadvantage.
And while the argument that builders are concerned about their reputations, that bad “word of mouth” might prevent them from selling homes, sounds plausible on the surface, it’s actually not that simple. Given the volume of homes that large development companies build and sell, it’s merely a numbers game. As long as they sell more defect-free homes than homes that have defects, and as long as they can appease homeowners for the first 8 years, they can then move onto the next project in another part of the state or country.
Most buyers will be none the wiser, because none of the out of court settlements will become part of the public record. Homeowners, on the other hand, will be obligated to disclose any defects that were repaired by the builder when they eventually sell their homes. They will also get stuck paying for future repairs if sub-standard fixes are made by the builder during the 8-year warranty period.