Associations Should Repair Life Safety Defects Even During the Pendency of Litigation

With the construction boom in full swing, more and more construction defect lawsuits are being filed on behalf of condominium associations because of countless construction defects that occurred during original construction. These construction defects are particularly prevalent in Miami where the unique real estate development market, weather, and shortage of skilled trade workers make it particularly vulnerable to construction defects.

While construction defect claims are indeed filed by a condominium association board on behalf of the condo owners in order to address common defects affecting the property, at times there are certain defects that are considered and classified by engineering professionals as life-safety issues that require immediate attention.

Owners must be mindful that while a construction defect lawsuit has been filed against the real estate developer and contractor, the process to finalize those claims is often quite lengthy and as representatives for an association, the condominium association board must take all necessary steps to address those life-safety issues that are affecting the property and the safety of its residents, regardless of the pending construction defect lawsuit.

In fact, the legislature has created an exception to allow owners to proceed with emergency repairs if those repairs are intended to protect the health and safety of the building and residents. Section 558.004(9), Florida Statutes, provides, in pertinent part, “[t]his section does not prohibit or limit the claimant from making any necessary emergency repairs to the property as are required to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the claimant.”

Given the potentially severe consequences that may result if the association fails to undertake repairs to life-safety defects within a reasonable time, it behooves associations to address such issues in an expeditious manner and not unduly hesitate to begin such repairs. As experienced condominium and homeowner association lawyers and construction defect attorneys, we are well-versed in the legal requirements for pursuing successful construction defect lawsuits, and in the responsibilities of associations while those lawsuits are pending. If you have questions about pursuing a construction defect claim and understanding an association’s responsibilities for emergency repairs, give us a call.

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