New Home Warranty and ROC Complaint Time Limits are Strict
Question: We purchased our new home in Mesa four years ago. We have recently discovered significant structural problems with the cultured marble shower in the master bedroom. When we contacted our homebuilder, however, it refused to make any repairs. Does the home builder have any obligation to make repairs even though the one-year warranty period has expired? Is a new home warranty time limit strict?
Answer: If the builder furnished you with a one year express warranty, you have no claim four years later under this express warranty. Similarly, although the Arizona Registrar of Contractors regulates the licenses of homebuilders, it requires that a complaint against a homebuilder be filed within two years after a home was built. Therefore, you are not entitled to file a lawsuit for damages against the homebuilder for breach of the one year express warranty, nor are you entitled to file a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors against the homebuilder’s license. On the other hand, under Arizona law, every new home has an eight-year implied warranty of workmanship and habitability by the homebuilder that the home was properly constructed. Since you discovered this construction problem after only four years, you should have a claim against the homebuilder for the cost to repair this construction problem. Before filing a lawsuit, however, under Arizona law you will have to give the homebuilder an opportunity to correct this construction problem.
Note: The eight-year implied warranty of workmanship and habitability applies to subsequent owners as well. If you were to sell the home and disclose to the buyers the structural problems at issue, then the subsequent buyer would also be able to make a claim against the homebuilder for the cost to repair the construction problem for the remaining four years. One limitation on the time for making an implied warranty claim is that the claim cannot be made more than six years after the date you discovered the construction issue. However, if you discover the construction defect in the eighth year, you may make a claim up to nine years after the home was completed. Both express warranty claims and the common law implied warranty of habitability claims would probably allow you to recover for attorneys fees and other litigation costs. A.R.S. 12-552