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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    2

    Default Warranty Coverage for Defects in a Newly Constructed Home

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Washington

    Our house was built in 2015. We found it in August 2015 after completion and listed for sale. We purchased home in September 2015.

    Our house has generally been fine outside of some settling at one corner of the house, but we've recently found that tile around the master shower and tub has been pulling away from its backing board, and grout cracking. Upon further inspection around the bathroom, it looks like water is escaping the shower stall, through the grout/under the tile, and possibly moving underneath for at least a few feet. My father who has done construction for 40 years says that this looks like improper tile installation, and there is water egress from the shower stall.

    I started brief conversation with a couple local attorney offices on the subject, and talked with our real estate agent. They all suggested trying to work with the builder, or contacting the Washington State Dept of Labor & Industries to get advice on where to pursue this. The attorneys require a $3,000 and up retainer to spend any real time on the case.

    From best I can tell, this issue falls under the Washington State construction defect warranty, valid 6-years from “substantial completion” of the construction. The "builder", a small property management company which owned a lot, split it in two and built two new homes to sale - I believe this is enough for them to fall under the law as a professional builder. The builder had one of their property-management carpentry guys assist on the two homes.

    I want to see if anyone here has further details about this warranty law, and what would be the best way of getting the issues addressed, and any damage (underlayment?) repaired. The steps outlined in 64.50.020 at http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.as...4.50&full=true appear to be a good place to start, if you guys believe this is a valid claim that legally falls into the construction defect warranty. We want to make sure that not only is the issue resolved, but any damaged backing boards, underlayment, and grout is repaired. I would doubt the issue has progressed far enough to damage framing.

    We have stopped using that bathroom due to the damage that appears to be occurring, mostly hidden from view.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    14,394

    Default Re: Washington State - (New) Construction Defect Warranty

    The first thing I suggest you do is get a contractor (not your father) in to write you up all the repairs and the costs and his expert opinion about the cause.

    Anything your father says is "legally" useless because he's your father and obviously biased.

    Once you have the contractor's results the next step is to put the builder on written notice of the defect and your demand for resolution of the issues.

    Then come back to this thread and tell us the results at that point.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Washington State - (New) Construction Defect Warranty

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    The first thing I suggest you do is get a contractor (not your father) in to write you up all the repairs and the costs and his expert opinion about the cause.

    Anything your father says is "legally" useless because he's your father and obviously biased.

    Once you have the contractor's results the next step is to put the builder on written notice of the defect and your demand for resolution of the issues.

    Then come back to this thread and tell us the results at that point.
    Oh, I understand the repair quote thing.

    I'm more interested if anyone understands this construction-defect law, and where it applies. There aren't many examples of specifics that I could find - mostly concerns over how vague the law is. A bedroom door we have that keeps requiring adjustment due to foundation settling is gray area under the law, and water damage seems it would be 100% covered.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    95,361

    Default Re: Washington State - (New) Construction Defect Warranty

    The normal settling of a house is not a construction defect, as all houses settle after construction. Often there is a new home warranty pursuant to which the builder will return within a specified time to address issues that result from normal settling, such as repairing drywall cracks or seams.

    If you want to try to avail yourself of a remedy for the bathtub issue under RCW 64.50.020, the statute outlines the process. It is possible that the builder will agree that it's a construction-related issue and make a repair; you'll have to wait and see how the builder responds. But in the interim, if you choose not to fix the problem and choose to continue to use the tub, you should not expect that the builder will be responsible for the repair of water damage that results from your continued use of the tub.

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