The One-Year Contract Warranty vs. Six-Year Statutory Period
You were excited to buy your new home. You saved up and waited patiently while the contractor worked to build the house of your dreams. But once you moved in, you started to notice things were not right. You talked to the builder or general contractor and they pointed to a one-year warranty period in your contract. They say that the one-year period has expired and they have no obligation to help fix the defects in your new home. The builder or general contractor is off the hook, right? Not so fast. Colorado law prohibits certain contract terms, especially in relation to construction defects.
Usually, parties to a contract are free to include whatever terms or limitations they want and there is a presumption that parties are sophisticated enough to understand what they are agreeing to. However, the law sometimes considers some contracts terms so damaging to the general public that they are not legally binding regardless of their inclusion in the contract. This is called “void as against public policy.” When a contract term is void as against public policy, it is unenforceable, even if the contracting parties specifically intended to include it in the contract.
The Colorado Construction Defect Action Reform Act, or “CDARA” for short, includes such prohibitions because of public policy concerns. Chief among these prohibitions is the prohibition against waivers and limitations of rights, remedies, and damages stemming from a construction defect of a residential home. Colorado Revised Statute § 13-20-806(7)(a) specifically prohibits the inclusion of contract terms that waive or change the time period in which a homeowner can bring a construction defect claim against the builder. But that begs the question: What is the time period (or the statute of limitations) for a construction defect claim?
Colorado law provides that homeowners, generally, have either two (2) or six (6) years to bring a construction defect claim. Once you have discovered (or should have discovered) the defect, you have two years to bring a claim. You have six-years from closing on you home to make such a discovery.
But homeowners should be mindful that CDARA does not provide a 6-year express warranty. Rather, CDARA provides a 6-year period to bring construction defect claims for claims that fall outside the express warranties. These claims include breaches of:
- The implied warranty that the home is fit for a particular purpose;
- The implied warranty that the home was built in a workmanlike manner; or
- The implied warranty that the home was built in accordance with local building codes and law.
Homeowners should be wary when their contract includes a one-year express warranty or a waiver of the right to bring claims after one year. Not only are these terms not enforceable, they can be used to beguile homeowners into a disadvantage. An attorney is vital to making sure that your rights and your home are protected from shoddy work and shoddy contracts.
Get Started On Your Case Today
At Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, our attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you protect your most important assets and keep others from taking advantage you. Our legal team is available to help advise you on your rights under CDARA.