Implied Warranties for New Homes

Question: Four years ago we bought a new home in Buckeye from a homebuilder. Last week during heavy rainfall we had a major roof leak. The next day, when we called the homebuilder’s sales representative that sold the home to us, she said that we only had a two-year warranty for our home. She then said that, similar to a two-year warranty for an automobile battery or tires, the homebuilder had no obligation four years later to do any roof repairs. Is our sales representative correct?

Answer: No. Under centuries old English and American common law, a homebuilder impliedly warranted forever the proper construction of a home. In other words, the homebuilder had to do repairs for a construction defect for an unlimited period of time after closing of the sale of the home. In 1991 the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that a homebuilder had an implied warranty of construction to repair defective stucco on a home built twelve years earlier. 169 Ariz. 110. The Arizona legislature then adopted A.R.S. § 12-552 that limited this implied warranty of construction to eight years. Bottom line: Under the statutory eight-year implied warranty, your home builder will probably now be responsible to make roof repairs four years after building your Buckeye home.

Note: To further limit the liability of homebuilders for defective construction of a home, in 2002 the Arizona legislature passed the Purchaser Dwelling Act, A.R.S. § 12-1361, et seq., which limits the claim of a home buyer against the homebuilder for a construction defect, e.g., the home buyer waives the right to a jury trial.

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