Florida House Bill 501 seeks to reduce the statute of repose from 10 years to 7 years for construction claims. HB 501 was introduced to the house in January 2015. If approved, HB 501 will take effect on July 1, 2015. This can vastly change construction law in Florida as a statute of repose bars a claim after the passage of the period of repose expires, unlike a statute of limitation which bars the filing of a claim after the accrual of time from the initial cause of action. Under Fla Stat 95.11(3)(c), the statute of limitations for construction defects claim is four years after the date the defect is first discovered or should have been discovered under due diligence. The current statute of repose expires after 10 years after the later of: (1) the date of actual possession by the owner; (2) the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy; (3) the date of abandonment of construction if not completed; or (4) the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer.
Although, the proposed 7 year statute of repose will not apply retroactively and will affect claim made on or after July 1, 2015, there is an exception to claims that would not have been barred under the current statute of repose but will be barred under the proposed FB 501, those claims will not be immediately disallowed and may be commenced until July 1, 2016.
Ray Garcia, Esq.
Board Certified in Real Estate Law
by the Florida Bar