Real Estate Developer Tips: Key Things to Note About Construction Laws in Florida
Most real estate developers have at least a basic understanding of construction laws in the state, but it is important to know the following five aspects very clearly. These include claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, timing limitations for claims, warranty liability, property payment, and claims under Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes.
Claims Falling Under FDUTPA
It is illegal to use unfair methods of competition or deceptive acts in any act of commerce or trade. A Florida developer can come under fire for the sale or advertising of a property that is deceptive or otherwise misleading. A victim can file a claim under FDUTPA if he or she believes the developer has violated these rules.
Statute of Limitations
In general, someone who believes he or she is a victim of a construction defect has four years to bring a suit from any of the following incidents:
- The date of construction abandonment if the project is not completed
- The date of certificate of occupancy issuance
- The date of possession by the owner
- The date of project completion or termination
The discovery of a latent defect comes with a longer statute of limitations, with ten years being the maximum for filing a claim against someone.
A Florida real estate developer could be held liable for statutory, express, or implied warranties. The key factor in many of these cases has to do with developer knowledge of the contract. Speak with a real estate attorney to have a better understanding about how these various warranties work and what they mean for a developer.
Although it seems like the basic premise of property payments is obvious, this goes beyond the collection of money when it comes to construction law. A developer has to file a commencement notice, note this in the public records, and post it on the job site before any work is done on the project. After this notice is filed, a lienor will file an owner notice with the developer about anything related to prerequisites for perfecting a lien. This aspect of real estate law is notoriously complex, and this is why many stakeholders involved in this process will retain legal representation so as to be fully briefed about rights and responsibilities.
The most important statutes for construction developers to be aware of have to do with construction defects. Chapter 558 of the statutes was expressly created to help parties deal with claims about construction defects without having to enter litigation.
This can be beneficial to developers as it may help with inspection of the site to cure defects and it allows developers to hold other parties responsible for defects, such as design professionals or contractors. This alternative approach can also help avoid the costs associated with litigation in terms of both time and money.
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