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Construction defects occur when those who contribute services toward the creation and assembly of a structure don’t follow the laws or fail to do the work in an appropriate manner.  From site preparation to building design to construction workmanship, the dangers of construction defects exist at all stages of construction.

Sometimes defects are readily apparent – such as a cracked foundation or a water leak.  And sometimes defects are concealed within the project – such as failure to use the proper sealant – and cannot be discovered until some evidence of damage makes the defect known.  Patent defects are those which are obvious and open.  Whereas latent defects are hidden from reasonable discovery.

Responsibility For Patent And Latent Construction Defects

The law in Nevada favors the homeowner when it comes to construction defects.  Those who sell homes must disclose known defects even if they are obvious and those who hire contractors to work on their homes have a decade to recover for damage caused by defects.

  • Seller Responsibility – Sellers of residential properties in Nevada are required to disclose to buyers all defects that they are aware of that affect the use or value of the property. There is no obligation to disclose defects that a seller is unaware of.
  • Buyer Responsibility – It is possible that a patent defect is not known to the seller and thus there is no obligation for the seller to affirmatively disclose it.  In that case, it would be up to the buyer or a representative of the buyer to bring the defect to the attention of the seller.  If the buyer fails to have the seller address the defect, the buyer will be responsible for any damage resulting from it.
  • Contractor Responsibility – Nevada law strongly encourages those involved in the design, construction, manufacture, repair, or landscaping of homes to try and avoid construction defects. Persons who hire contractors to build or remodel their homes can make claims against the contractor for either patent or latent defects up to 10 years after the work has been substantially completed.

Where Are Patent And Latent Construction Defects Likely to Occur?

Although construction defects can occur at any point in the construction process, certain parts of the process are more prone to defect issues.  Some construction defects that are consistently found in Nevada properties include:

  • foundation issues
  • framing issues
  • fire blocking inadequate
  • insulation improperly installed
  • windows improperly installed
  • exterior walls improperly weatherized
  • roofing issues
  • stucco issues
  • failure to follow plans or faulty plans

How To Recover For Damage Caused By A Patent Or Latent Construction Defect

How you can recover for damage caused by a construction defect depends on the wording of the agreement you have with a seller or contractor and any other applicable laws. 

Most construction contracts contain warranties – something saying that the work performed and the materials obtained will conform to the terms of the contract.  Most real estate purchase and sale agreements on an existing residence sell the property as is – which is why Nevada law requires sellers to disclose all known defects. 

Nevada law has established procedures for recovering from your contractor in the case of new residential construction or from your seller in the case of buying an existing residence.  And although not usually very likely, it is possible that a property inspector might have some liability for your construction defect.

Recovery from Sellers – If a seller fails to disclose a known defect to a buyer in most cases the seller must pay the buyer 3 times the cost to repair or replace the defective component.  The buyer must make a claim against the seller within 1 year of discovering the defect or within 2 years of purchasing the property – whichever comes later.

Recovery from Contractors – For construction defects in newly constructed portions of a residence, Nevada requires claimants to give their contractors an opportunity to fix the defect and any resulting damage and make an offer to settle the matter before involving a court.  In Chapter 40 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS), a homeowner can recover the following damages if an agreement can be reached with the contractor:

  • Cost to repair or replace the defect and any incidental property damage
  • Reduction in market value caused by the defect
  • Amounts to compensate for the loss of use of the home
  • Cost to have experts evaluate the defect

Recovery from Property Inspectors – It would be a rare occasion where a home inspector would be held responsible for a construction defect.  Property inspectors usually have forms that list the items they are required to inspect. However, if an inspection was not done properly and a defect was missed, property inspectors in Nevada are required to carry errors and omissions insurance to cover themselves for mistakes.

Contact A Construction Defect Attorney At Paul Padda Law

At Paul Padda Law, our attorneys have significant experience handling construction defect cases involving patent and latent defects.  These are often complicated cases requiring the selection of appropriate experts that can help make a strong case in your favor.  If you’re looking for outstanding legal representation, you need to call us today at (702) 366-1888 or get in touch with us through this website. 

Patent and Latent Construction Defect