What steps to take to get a builder to honor its warranty?

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What steps to take to get a builder to honor its warranty?

I purchased my home about 10 months ago. I was told, and it was listed in the listing, that the home comes with a 10 year standard building warranty. We have had many problems and the builder has complied with fixing most issues. Also, some issues we just let go. However, the AC/heating unit has gone out. We contacted the builder and he made promises to fix it. First he ordered the part and promised that he would have someone come out to fix it. To get to the point, the builder ordered the wrong part and gave the HVAC repairman the runaround. Note, my unit is still under warranty. The builder has built 4 homes in my neighborhood and has made promises to make repairs. Now, 2 months later, we still have no hear or air. We live in the South and cannot go without air. With talking to my neighbors they have agreed that we need to take legal action, as the builder has promises to repair items in their homes. What steps we should take? I have seen that we should send a certified letter to the builder’s last known address stating all the issue we are having and give him 30 days to fix the issue. However, since summer is approaching we would like to pay out of pocket to fix this issue and ask him to refund us the monies. We are not sure if this is a good idea.

Asked on May 2, 2018 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You sue them for "breach of contract": that is, for violating their contractual obligations under the warranty (a warranty is a contract). If the amount at stake is less than or equal to your state's small claims limit, suing in small claim as your own attorney ("pro se") is a fast and cost-effective way to proceed. You can get the work done and then sue for the cost, so long as that cost is reasonable (the law doesn't let you deliberately or even carelessly overpay) and you can prove the cost. It is good idea to, as you evidently have been, make and document some attempts to communicate and get them to honor their warranty.


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