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September 2007

Homeowner's failure to give proper notice and opportunity to repair to builder resulted in court holding builder did not breach the 10-year statutory warranty

Homeowner's failure to give proper notice and opportunity to repair resulted in court holding builder did not breach the 10-year statutory warranty.

Roitenberg v. Halley's Custom homes, Inc., A06-1334 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 21, 2007)

In every sale of a new home, the builder must warrant to the buyer that, during the ten years from the warranty date, the home will be free of major construction defects caused by noncompliance with building standards. See Minn. Stat. § 327A.02, subd. 1(c) (2002). In this case, the court held the homeowner could not prove that the builder had breached its statutory warranty without presenting evidence that the company had either refused to, or was unable to, repair the damages to her home. That determination was important because the homeowner had refused to provide the builder with a notice and opportunity to repair. Instead, the owner provided the builder with a single opportunity to inspect, and then refused to provide either information or further access to the builder in a timely manner and, instead, hired another contractor to make repairs. The court held that the homeowner's failure to engage the builder in the "offer-and-repair process prohibited the builder from having a reasonable opportunity to meet its repair duties under the warranty." Accordingly, the court concluded the builder had not breached its statutory warranty obligations.

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