Did you know that your home may be under warranty per Minnesota Statute Chapter 327A? The warranties within the statute must be in every contract for the construction or sale of a dwelling by a Vendor to a Vendee in Minnesota. The warranty provisions cannot be waived by any of the parties. Under the warranty statute, Minnesota defines a dwelling as a new building not previously occupied and built for the purpose of habitation. Vendor typically means the general contractor and not any subcontractors or material suppliers. Vendee typically means the one buying the new home but also includes any subsequent purchasers within the warranty time period.
Within one year of the warranty date, the warranty statute covers defects caused by faulty workmanship or defective materials due to noncompliance with the Minnesota Building Code.
Within two years of the warranty date, the statute covers defects caused by faulty installation of plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, again, due to failure to comply with the standards laid out by the Minnesota Building Code.
Within ten years, the statute covers major construction defects. Minnesota defines major construction defect as actual damage to the load-bearing portion of the dwelling, which includes damage to the subsidence (gradual sinking of an area of land), expansion or movement of the soil affecting load bearing function, also affecting use of the dwelling for residential purposes.
In addition to new construction, the statute also covers home improvements. The same warranty time periods discussed above apply to home improvements. Generally speaking, depending on the scope of the home improvement, the statute covers workmanship and materials within one year, installation of plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems within two years, and major construction defects within ten years.
If you have a claim under the Minnesota Warranty Statute, damages (money) are limited to the amount necessary to repair the defect or the difference between the dwelling without the defect and the value of the dwelling with the defect. Typically, the cost of repair is the measure of damages.
Minnesota also protects home owners against judgment proof contractors. If you are in the unfortunate circumstances of having to assert a claim under the warranty statute the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry set up a contractor’s recovery fund that can pay money to a home owner that successfully obtains a judgment against a contractor that is unable to pay the amount of the judgment awarded. Once you obtain a judgment, you can apply to the recovery fund and Minnesota may pay up to $75,000.00 depending on the facts of your claim.
Any potential claims under the Home Warranty Statute must be brought within a certain amount of time from the date of discovering the defects. If you are experiencing problems resulting from new construction or home improvements, it is always best to communicate directly with the builder you hired to attempt to resolve the issues. However, if the builder and you are unable to resolve the problems, you can always consult with a construction law attorney to learn about your rights. Other legal claims may be applicable to your particular situation.
*This article does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to constitute advertising or solicitation for legal services. Nothing in this article should be construed by you as a source of legal advice. You should not rely or act upon the contents of this article without seeking advice from your own attorney.