Faulty construction of buildings and their ownership by condo associations has been in the news recently. Many buildings have become condominiums years after their original construction. Residents of Roseland and other areas of New Jersey may want to learn more about whether a change in ownership affects construction-problem claims.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the selling of a property does not change the timing of the statute of limitations. If the previous owner had any knowledge of the defects in construction, the time period for filing suit begins with them.
When the new owner takes possession of the building, they cannot reset the clock for the statute. They may not discover any construction defects until a later date. Even so, the clock may not be reset.
Six years is the rule
This usually begins upon completion of the building. Sometimes defects are not obvious at first. A fact-sensitive inquiry may begin for the plaintiff. Decisions will vary with each case.
A New Jersey case
A building in New Jersey was first built as an apartment building. It later became condominiums, at which time the association did an inspection and engineering report. They found that the building had a variety of construction defects. The association filed suit.
The defendants said that the statute had begun in 2002, with the completion of the building. The association maintained that the statute began in May of 2007, when they learned of the defective construction.
Eventually, when the case came to the Supreme Court, it held that a construction-defect issue begins from the time that a building’s owners (original or subsequent) first know of the defects. A plaintiff owner has six years to file suit from that point. The clock is not reset with a change of ownership.
If you are facing construction legal issues, it may be smart to speak with an experienced attorney knowledgeable in construction law. They may provide guidance and solutions.