My New Home is a Lemon

Question: We bought a new home two years ago in West Phoenix in the flight path of Sky Harbor Airport. We have had significant electrical and plumbing problems since the first day that we purchased our new home. Our homebuilder now refuses to do anything, and said that our one-year home builder’s warranty has expired. The inspector from the Registrar of Contractor’s office was very nice, but the mechanical and electrical problems still remain. We have given up on all of the meetings and paperwork! My husband is a painting contractor, and he now wants to paint a large lemon on our roof that would be seen by every passenger flying into Sky Harbor Airport. We are not in an HOA, but I am still worried. Can we be sued by our homebuilder for painting a large lemon on our roof?

Answer: Probably not. You have a constitutionally-protected First Amendment right of free speech. You have the right to stand in front of your house and yell “lemon,” so you also should have the right to paint a large lemon on the roof of your home. You should check, however, to see if any federal aviation regulations apply, e.g., regulations prohibiting signs or any other activities on the ground that would distract the attention of pilots.

Note: A homeowner generally has eight years after construction of a new home to sue the homebuilder for construction defects, even if a homebuilder’s express warranty is only one or two years. A homeowner can also file a claim with the Registrar of Contractors for construction defects by the homebuilder within two years after construction of the home.

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