Can a builder beheld accountable for water intrusion cause by improper flashing installation?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a builder beheld accountable for water intrusion cause by improper flashing installation?

I bought my home just over 5 years ago and recently during a major storm I noticed that my carpet was wet halfway into the room. I pulled up the carpet and ripped out the baseboard and it looked like this had been going on for a while since mold had developed on the baseboard and the sheetrock and along the edges it was crumbling. I had never noticed the issue before because the water had not made it to the area where we walk. I hired a contractor to look at it and fix what he thought was the issue, however after a big storm yesterday, I noticed that it had started leaking around the trim again. I spoke to several people in my neighborhood who have had the same issue and they had to have the brick on the outside of their homes removed and flashing installed around the foundation and brick. I had a new contractor come out today and that is what he sad he would have to do since the issue is coming from the outside. Do I have recourse against the builder since he is the one I bought the home from when it was still under construction?

Asked on March 4, 2019 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Assuming, as we will, that the design or construction of the flashing was defective, then you can sue the builder based on negligence: on careless construction. You have to bring the lawsuit within 3 years of discovering the negligence and no more than 8 years after construction of the home was substantially (or mostly) completed. Based on what you write, it appears you are in time. 
The question then becomes: is it worth suing? You MUST hire a construction expert to write a report and testify when suing for professional negligence--and you have to pay the cost for that expert yourself. You really should hire a lawyer, unless you are comfortable with the rules of court and evidence and with managing and presenting a modestly complext case. You can only recover the repair costs for the water damage and cost to correct the flashing issue. You need to weigh whether a lawsuit is economically worthwhile.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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