Florida’s Senate Bill 360: Statute of Limitations, Statute of Repose, and Building Code Violations
Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 360 into law on April 13, 2023, amending the statute of limitations and repose for filing lawsuits against builders for construction material defects and building code violations. It is the most recent effort to manage the rise in new construction costs, decrease frivolous litigation, and defend reliable building contractors in Florida.
Senate Bill 360: Statute of Limitations
Introduced by Senator Travis Hutson, the bill aims to streamline the legal process by shortening the statute of limitations and statute of repose from ten to seven years. It keeps the one-year extension for conducting counterclaims, crossclaims, and third-party claims.
The statute of limitations for legitimate claims based on the design, plan, or construction of an improvement to the property remains four years. The period it commences has changed. Now, it begins from the earliest date the authority having jurisdiction issues a temporary certificate of occupancy, certificate of occupancy, certificate of completion, or abandonment if not completed. For latent defects, the period remains unchanged.
Senate Bill 360: Material Defect Violations
The bill requires the building code violations to be material. The amended statute defines a material defect as “a violation of the Florida Building Code that pertains to a completed building, structure, or facility, capable of, or having caused, physical harm to individuals or significant damage to the building’s performance or systems.”
The penalty for defective construction remains aligned with prior legislation. It typically entails a $500 to $5,000 fine imposed on a builder for failure to rectify the problem within a reasonable timeframe. Additionally, it introduces necessary modifications to Florida’s “bad faith” framework.
Senate Bill 360: Multi-Building and Single-Family Homes
The statute clarifies how to analyze multi-building or multi-family construction projects, such as apartment complexes or condos. Now, each building must be considered its own improvement. Under Florida law, developers have seven years to hand over the condominium association to the property owners. This recent change eliminates the three-year window to present a cause of action or initiate a claim. Additionally, if a single-family home is constructed and used as a model house, the period for bringing action begins on the transfer date of a deed.
Here to Help
If you have questions about your unique situation or need strategic financial advice, we are here to help. As one of the Top 50 Construction Accounting Firms in the country (Construction Executive 2022), Berman Hopkins builds value-added relationships with each client to understand their business structure and provide solid solutions. We are the highest-ranked firm based in Florida and #35 in the nation. Our innovative, cross-functional services help businesses address the challenges ahead. Contact us to let us know how we can best support you.