Construction Defect Journal Archives

Florida’s Construction Defect Statute of Repose

August 24, 2017
David Suggs – Bert L. Howe & Associates, Inc.

Butler Weihmuller of Katz Craig LLP discussed Florida’s 10-year statute of repose law: “Under § 95.11(3)(c), the action must commence within 10 years after the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest.”

However, Weihmuller explains that parties may disagree on the specific date For instance, in Busch v. Lennar Homes, LLC, Florida’s 5th DCA recently “reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a homeowner’s construction defect claim that was filed just beyond 10 years after the closing date on the property.” The previous decision had been based on the notion that the contract had been completed upon the date of closing. The 5th DCA declared that “a contract is not completed until both sides of a contract have been performed” and “pointed to the ‘inspection and punch-list clause’ of the contract.” The clause indicated that “[a]ny remaining items that Seller has agreed to correct will be corrected by Seller at Seller’s sole cost and expense prior to closing or at Seller’s option within a reasonable time after closing.” Since not all punch-list items had been completed prior to closing, the 5th DCA held that the contract had not been completed at closing, and therefore the statute of repose did not begin until the punch-items had been accomplished.


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