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Beware Your Duty to Inspect

By Burg Simpson
November 27, 2017
3 min read

Homeowners associations have become as commonplace as housing developments themselves. There is almost no way to avoid them. But it was not always this way: in 1970, there were only about 10,000 community associations scattered around the country, responsible for fewer than 1 million houses. Last year, 342,000 of these associations included more than 26 million homes – covering more than 21 percent of the American population. Whether you are looking at a new house out in the suburbs or a high-rise condo in the city, odds are, wherever you move next, you are probably going to be a member of a Homeowners Association (HOA).

What do you know about Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions?

So you’ve attained the American Dream: you’ve bought your first house in a quiet little community just outside the city. But you have also joined an HOA, and whether you realized it or not, you also agreed to abide by its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“CC&Rs”). As intimidating as it may sound, this declaration is simply the rules that govern the development, dictating what you are and are not allowed to do with your new home. This could include restrictions on things such as paint colors, landscaping, and pets.

Duty to Inspect

Increasingly, developers are inserting language in CC&Rs to protect themselves from liability for construction defects.  For example, developers may insert language prohibiting the association or homeowners from pursuing claims in a jury trial, instead of forcing them to go through an expensive and time-consuming alternative dispute resolution process.  A newer tactic is imposing a Duty to Inspect that requires the association to conduct annual inspections of all common areas.  The association must hire a professional, have an inspection done, document damage, and report the results to the homeowners along with a plan for repair.  In our experience, it is not unusual for the developer to ignore this language when it is in control of the association.

The Risk of an Association Ignoring This Duty

If the association ignores this duty, the developer can assert that failure as a defense to any future construction defect claims.  If defects are discovered, the developer may blame their existence and any resultant damage on the association for its failure to previously inspect for and correct the defects.  This could allow the developer to escape all responsibility for defects and damage it would otherwise be clearly liable for.

If you have discovered something wrong with your new home, do not let anyone talk you out of your to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact Burg Simpson construction defect law firm to speak with someone right away at 888-895-2080. You can also complete our Free Case Evaluation form now to speak with someone about your situation.

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