The News Service of Florida reports that the state House of Representatives is moving forward with a proposal that could shorten the time for residents to file lawsuits about construction defects in their homes.
Supporters say the bill could help reduce costly litigation and insurance costs for contractors. Opponents say it could cause people to pay for problems that are not discovered until years after their homes were built.
The House Civil Justice Subcommittee voted 15-3 to approve the proposal, HB 85, which is filed for the legislative session that will convene March 7. Similar bills were debated during the 2022 session but did not pass.
The most controversial parts of the proposal relate to lawsuits about “latent” construction defects, which are defects that can remain hidden from homeowners for years.
Under current law, homeowners can file lawsuits about latent defects up to 10 years after they take possession of the property or other time marks, such as the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, whichever happens later.
The bill, in part, would change that to seven years. It also would change the timeline to include such factors as issuance of a temporary certificate of occupancy and would start the clock with whichever event happens earliest.
State Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, filed a similar bill, SB 360, in the Senate.