Construction Defects in Living Associations

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Our significant experience in complex civil litigation as well as working with homeowners associations involved in construction defect cases means we give sound advice steeped in real-world experience. We will answer your questions … Should a claim be pursued? Is it cost-effective? Who should be sued? What expenses will be incurred? What national and local building code sections apply? What is the statute of limitations? What experts should be used? How should you document and preserve a claim for the courtroom? When should you start repairs? Who will pay for them?

There are statutes that may allow a plaintiff or defendant to recoup expenses, litigation costs and attorney fees. Speaking with the right lawyer means you will know your rights in relation to these statutes and others so you can figure out your goals early. Individuals or boards who are concerned they are the victims of defective construction have a lot of questions: our reputation in civil litigation is based on our ability to give clear and concise answers to clients and juries alike. Consultations are free. Choosing the wrong lawyer isn’t.

If you are seeking a legal resolution and want to avoid the courtroom, our lawyers can help you explore alternative dispute resolution tactics, like mediation or arbitration.


In general, every aspect of construction defect litigation in California is controlled by local and national building codes, state case law as well as the California Civil Code, especially Title 7, Sections 895 – 945.5. We have put the actual code sections below for you to review (especially the “actionable defects” section), however keep in mind there are a lot of peculiarities, (for instance, this section of California Code only applies to new residential units where the purchase agreement with the buyer was signed by the seller on or after Jan. 1, 2003) and other “causes of action” (things you can sue for) that make consulting a knowledgeable lawyer essential. We hope this information acts as a primer for any questions you may have.

Our Advice

1. Be aware there are time limits that may affect your case. If you think you have a construction defect problem, call immediately. There is a statute of limitations written into California law and federal law that limits how long your case can be left open before you lose the right to file a claim in court.

2. Get an expert involved as soon as possible. Construction defect litigation is, in fact, a building code intensive litigation for plaintiffs, defendants and their lawyers. Given the amount of money at stake and cost of repairs, individuals and companies want to avoid liability or the full cost of repair. When you discover what appears to be a defect, it is important to contact a lawyer right away who will bring in a team of experienced experts to evaluate and document your claim before anything else is done. Remember, if a contractor or developer offers and completes repairs, evidence of wrongdoing or incompetence disappears if not properly documented. Trying to tell a court what happened is a lot different than showing them what happened with clear and concise documentation directed and organized by a civil litigation attorney who knows what they are doing. Once the evidence is documented, then explore offers to repair.

3. Document, document, document. Even if you believe a contractor will repair a mistake in good faith, document things immediately. Repairs are expensive and contractors are not necessarily motivated to take the full responsibility for their error or repair things properly. Poor construction in one area can produce secondary problems in other areas later on. Documenting a construction defect (videos, photos, expert examination) is relatively cheap. Consulting an attorney who is familiar with the hard litigation facts of these kinds of cases before repairs are done assures mistakes are properly documented in case resolution where corners are cut or good faith efforts to resolve the problem does not work out.

4. Make a plan and take action. If you have a problem that appears to be a construction defect, you need to formulate a step-by-step plan of how to solve it. Using a lawyer upfront assures someone who is experienced with construction defect litigation is dissecting the problem and planning what to do. Trying to do this yourself for the first time can be extremely stressful and worrisome as you try to anticipate what is relevant, what steps should be taken and in what order. Mistakes can be expensive. Using an experienced lawyer takes that pressure away, assures clear communication on the steps being taken, and assures the problem will be dealt with in a proper manner. Do not let these kinds of problems build early on: this is the worst thing you can do for your case, your sanity and your homeowners association. Call our office to discuss your construction defect case with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer.

Title 7. Requirements for Actions for Construction Defects

CHAPTER 1. Definitions: 895

CHAPTER 2. Actionable Defects: 896-897

CHAPTER 3. Obligations: 900-907

CHAPTER 4. Prelitigation Procedure: 910-938

CHAPTER 5. Procedure: 941-945.5

If you think you may need to file a construction defect case that affects your home, condominium, shared community development, or homeowners association, call us. Our number is a direct line to a knowledgeable civil litigation attorney who has litigated these kinds of cases. Gregory M. Garrison is also a certified mediator who can evaluate the best path to resolution in each case. Call 619-798-9501 or complete our online contact form. Gregory M. Garrison, APC, has a reputation for no-nonsense legal counsel. We believe in results. Consultations are free. Choosing the wrong lawyer isn’t.