Can I Sue My Home Warranty Company for Not Fixing Problems in My House?
Yes, you can sue your home warranty company for not fixing problems in your house. If you believe a construction problem in your home is covered by your home warranty, and the warranty company refuses to fix it, you likely have a breach of contract claim against the warranty company.
However, suing your home warranty company likely isn’t the best option you have. Most home warranties are “1-2-10” warranties where everything in the home is covered for one year, all the appliances and mechanical systems are covered for two years, and the structure of the home is covered for ten years. The home warranties typically define very narrowly what constitutes a covered structural problem so that your home almost must be collapsing for an issue to be a covered structural problem. For these reasons, after the first year most issues in your home are not covered by a home warranty, and suing your home warranty company often would not be successful.
Usually, your better option is to sue your homebuilder and the builder’s subcontractors. Under South Carolina law, a homebuilder is liable for construction defects for at least eight years and is liable indefinitely for construction defects that rise to the level of gross negligence. While homebuilders often try to eliminate liability through the home purchase contract by providing that the home warranty is the owner’s sole remedy, South Carolina law disfavors those provisions. For a homebuilder to eliminate other remedies and make the home warranty the owner’s sole remedy, South Carolina law requires that the builder and owner have specifically bargained for that provision. Steinberg Law Firm’s construction defect lawyers have yet to see a situation where a homebuilder and an owner specifically bargained over the home warranty provision in a home purchase contract. The result is that South Carolina law protects homeowners from defective construction and allows owners to sue builders for the expected costs of fixing defective construction.
The problems that the Steinberg Law Firm’s construction defect lawyers most often see resulting in claims by homeowners or condo associations against builders are leaking roofs, leaking windows, and leaking walls. South Carolina gets a lot of rain every year and is very humid and warm. Those are the perfect conditions for wood rot. Where a building in South Carolina was not properly constructed to keep water out of the roof and walls, rain will get in, and water and wood framing do not mix well. Over time, the steady exposure to water will cause the wood to rot. Left unrepaired for long enough, water intrusion into a roof or wall can rot away wood framing to the point of compromising a building’s structural integrity.
If you have water leaking into your home or any other construction problem that has you thinking about contacting or suing your home warranty company, you should consider speaking to a construction defect lawyer about your options. The construction defect lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm are happy to discuss your options at no cost to you, and if you have claims to pursue against your builder, they handle most of their cases on a contingency fee basis where the client does not have to pay anything out of pocket to pursue the claims.