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What is California’s Right to Repair Act?

Construction professionals may have heard of California’s Right to Repair Act, which was enacted in 2003, and have questions about what it involves and how it may impact business. Construction projects are complex and detailed, and a construction defect claim can cause serious problems for a business and harm to one’s professional reputation. The following provides some basic information about the Right to Repair Act.

The Right to Repair Act lays out a series of steps that individuals attempting to file a defect claim against builders, product manufacturers or design professionals must follow. The act applies to original construction intended for residential use but does not apply to condominium conversations.

Deadlines are crucial

The act contains specific provisions regarding what constitutes a defect. If a claimant believes they have a valid defect, prior to filing a claim, they must provide written notice of the defect through certified mail, overnight mail or personal service. The information in the claim must describe the defect in reasonable detail so the party against whom it is filed understands the exact defect alleged.

Once written notice of the defect is received, a written document acknowledging receipt of the notice must be given within 14 days. If this requirement is not met, the claimant is relieved from following any of the other steps under the act and may proceed to file a lawsuit.

Once written acknowledgment of receipt is given, a builder then has another 14 days to perform an inspection of the property. The act allows for up to 2 inspections, and if the alleged defect is discovered and determined to be valid, the builder must offer to repair the violation in writing within 30 days of the most recent inspection. Again, if any of these deadlines are not met, the remaining requirements of the act no longer apply.

Deadlines are extremely important under the Right to Repair Act, as missing even one may result in litigation. If you receive written notice of a defect, speaking with an experienced professional may be the best idea, to ensure all steps are precisely followed.