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I have a controversial legal opinion about your home warranty from your builder.  It is mostly worthless. 

At best – it is a perfect example of a magician’s “smoke and mirrors”.  Let me explain. 

The Moster Law Firm principally handles disputes with homebuilders which typically involve a warranty of some sort.  These warranties purport to protect the homeowner from defects in construction like a failed foundation and other issues.  In almost all instances, these warranties are of ZERO VALUE. 

The best comparison would be to a carnival arcade where you play that game involving getting the ball in the bottle.  Well, it looks really easy, and you dump all your expensive tickets into a process but never win.  Why?  The tops of the bottles are ever so skewed to prevent the ball from hitting home. 

Same with builder offered home warranties.  Here are a few issues to consider: 

1. You never qualify.  

It’s a lot like the bottle game – you never win.  The small print in the warranty provides that you have either waived your rights, blown the deadline to report the defect, or that the issue is not covered.  This happens all the time and, in my view, constitutes consumer fraud.  It is scandalous! 

2. The builder kills the warranty with your help.   

Every time there is a serious issue such as a failed foundation, the builder brings in its own structural engineer to run tests to see what the problem is.  Guess what?  The reports come back in favor of the builder every time!  Everything is in variance and just fine.  I have never seen a different result!  Of course, when we bring in our own foundation expert, we find something radically wrong, at least in most instances.  The problem is that by letting the builder’s inspector in you sabotage your own case.  A biased report is generated which destroys your legal arguments and damages.  Don’t let this happen! 

 3. The builder falsely lulls you into not using the warranty.   

This happens all the time.  In a recurring case, the homeowner finds cracks running from the garage into the house or elsewhere.  The builder invariably says that this is natural settling and not to worry about.  That is almost always a flat out lie but you rely on that.  In the meantime, the deadline to assert a claim on your warranty runs and you are out of luck. 

 4. The builder lies about defects or blames you causing the statute of limitations to run.   

This is a really nasty maneuver.  I have seen instances where the builder lies about the crack saying they are insignificant and “putties them up”.  It happens again and the same builder reassures you that everything is fine.  It’s not.  Years later, the foundation fails and the house shifts, roof becomes dislocated, and worse.  You contact a lawyer and if they are not experienced, they will inform you that the time to bring a warranty claim in a lawsuit has expired.  Depending on how smart your lawyer is (and the facts) you may be out of luck.  The way out of this mess is to utilize what is known as the “discovery doctrine” where in Texas the statute of limitations does not run until you discover the defect.  Where the builder lied to you about the problem and lulled you into thinking all is well – that’s a great defense to use a much later date.  If you are told 10 years later that a true defect exists of which you were unaware – the discovery doctrine applies, and the clock runs from “discovery”.  All is well. 

 5. The ole switcheroo!   

Here, the builder gets you to believe that your only remedy is in the warranty which expired and convinces you that they have no liability.  Wrong!  Your legal rights are in the contract you signed and have nothing to do with the warranty.   Home construction defect attorneys will always look to the original contract to go after your damages. 

Bottom Line – 

Your Homebuilder, in many instances, is not your friend.  They are all smiles before you sign and thereafter go through a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde transformation.  Don’t get fooled.   

Now, there are rare instances where the homebuilder stands behind the warranty – but very few. 

Consult an experienced home construction law attorney to find out your legal options! 

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