A recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court could help many homeowners and homeowners associations that may be experiencing problems with their property. While courts typically used to rule in favor of the buyer beware attitude when it comes to real estate, this new ruling regarding the infrastructure of the community, which provides what are deemed essential services, will help make developers more accountable for the work that is done. Those facing residential real estate property issues like this will be able to seek help from their community developer to get the problems resolved.
This change has come about from a case filed from a homeowners association in Orange County for a property that started having water and drainage problems after the HOA took control of the subdivision. These issues caused flooding and a variety of other issues, including damage to the roads. The claim alleged that defects in the infrastructure were to blame for the issues, and it stated that home purchasers had no way of knowing about these issues before finalizing their purchases.
The developer initially won the case at trial, when it was ruled that the issues with this particular community were not covered under implied warranties of fitness and were not of immediate support to the homes. However, the ruling was reversed by the Supreme Court, claiming that the issues caused were in fact impeding essential services to the community. The ruling also stated that the developer was in a position to find and prevent these types of issues before the sale of the property.
Because of this ruling, implied warranties of fitness now apply to making improvements to what are deemed as essential services. Florida property owners and/or homeowner associations that may be facing residential real estate property issues may apply for legal protection and ask for improvements to the problems they are facing. If the necessary improvements do fall under this category of essential services, the developer -- not the property owner -- would be expected to address and fix the problems.
Source: thedestinlog.com, LAW OF THE LAND: Homeowner's 'essential services' now covered by implied warranty of fitness, William L. Martin III, Dec. 13, 2013