There has been an increase in construction in Idaho as the economy recovers. Meridian, Idaho is growing at a phenomenal rate. New subdivisions are popping up in Boise, Nampa, Eagle and all across the state. The real estate market is preparing for the summer rush. 2015 was the strongest year in recent history and this year has started even stronger. With all the new construction, purchasers need to when to bring a claim for a home or building with design or construction problems.
Many people are familiar with statute of limitations—certain claims may be barred unless suit is filed within a specified time frame. Sometimes when a house or other building is constructed, however, there are questions about when a statute of limitation starts. For example, a new home may have a defective foundation that does not become apparent for months or even years (sometimes these types of problems are referred to as “latent defects”). If the mistake was made several years ago, can the building owner maintain a claim for damages once the defect is discovered? No general, across-the-board answer can be provided.
When a latent defect is discovered well after construction has been completed, there are valid concerns and considerations for both the builder and the owner. On the one hand, the builder does not want to remain potentially liable for years or even decades. On the other hand, the homeowner or other building owner doesn’t want to lose a claim before knowing about it. One issue that may be relevant in such situations is the “statute of repose.”
Idaho, like many other states, has a statute of repose that specifically applies to building design or construction. The statute tries to balance the competing interests, it provides an ultimate “statute of limitations start date” for many claims (even if undiscovered), and it distinguishes between breaches of contract and tort claims. The statute of repose specifies that it may not apply if a builder continues to own the structure after construction is complete (for example, a developer who constructs and then manages an office building).
These are challenging legal issues that cannot be answered without examination of the facts, timing, nature of claims, etc. At Lerma Grover Law, our lawyers can help you evaluate your options and provide you with the representation you need to resolve real estate problems like this. Please contact us if you have questions about pursuing or defending a claim for a latent defect.