Proposed Amendments to Florida’s Construction Defect Statute
Florida Statute 558 also known as the Florida Construction Defect Statute was enacted in 2003 to provide contractors, sub-contractors, designers, suppliers, and developers with a “notice of claim,” while also creating a set standard procedure for how residential claimants should address construction defects. The statute requires that contractors be given notice of an alleged defect before a lawsuit is filed, and provides the construction respondent with an opportunity to resolve the claim. The legislation's purpose was to decrease the high-volume of defect claims and ensure their legitimacy. The Statute presents issues, however, because of the broad nature in which it is written and the lack of penalties for individuals perpetuating false claims.
To address the issues and numerous claims made against the Florida's Construction Defect Statute, House of Representative's member Kathleen Passidomo introduced House Bill 87, which would significantly change the process for filing construction defect claims and introduce much needed consequences to deter fraud.
House Bill 87
House Bill 87, if passed, will require owners to provide the respondent with detailed information about the alleged defect, including the location of the defect and the violated building code, original plans, or specifications that serve as the basis of the claim. If this information is not supplied, the notice would be considered defective.
Along with requiring additional information, the new bill would also impose penalties for false claims that are fraudulent or had previously been resolved by the contractor. The bill also holds lawyers responsible if it is found that they were aware of the frivolity of the claim. As penalty, claimants would be responsible for court costs, sanctions, and legal fees of the opposing party.
House Bill 87 was introduced this past December, but our Sarasota construction lawyers are keeping a close eye on the development of this proposed legislation.
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Disclaimer: 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.