Statutory implied warranties are a valuable tool for condominium associations (as well as purchasers of units) of newly formed condominiums. The warranties provide the association with direct claims to assert against the developer, the general contractor, subcontractors, and even suppliers, if there is defect with the condominium. The specifics of the implied warranties, and the timing as to when these statutory warranty claims must be brought, can be found in Florida’s Condominium Act, specifically Fla. Stat. s. 718.203.
Recently, in Harbor Landing Condominium Owners Association, Inc. v. Harbor Landing, L.L.C., 2012 WL 254971 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012), a condominium association initiated a lawsuit that included a breach of the statutory implied warranty claims provided for in Fla. Stat. s. 718.203. The association sued, amongst other entities, the manufacturers of coating that was applied on the exterior railings. The association argued that the statutory implied warranties extended to the manufacturer because the manufacturer was a supplier (and a statutory implied warranty claim extended to suppliers). While there are certainly situations whereby a manufacturer could also be a supplier, in this case, the manufacturer of the coating did not supply the exterior railings. Rather, a separate entity supplied the railings. For this reason, the court said that the statutory implied warranties could not extend to the manufacturer of the coating applied to the railings (since a different entity supplied the railings). This ruling simply means that the association could bring the statutory warranty claim against the supplier of the railings, just not the manufacturer of the coating.
The relevance of this case is that if there are defects with a condominium, particularly a recently built condominium, it is important for the association (or unit owner) to seek legal counsel to best preserve rights in seeking recourse based on the defects. This includes the appropriate entities to sue as well as the arguments / claims to include against the entities based on the asserted defects.
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