Florida Construction Law: What is an Implied Warranty?
In Florida, certain contract terms may be enforceable even if they were never explicitly mentioned in an oral agreement or written agreement. An implied warranty is a presumption that a product or service is “fit”—meaning it conforms to the reasonable expectations of an ordinary buyer. If it does, the aggrieved party may be able to take legal action for resulting damages.
The concept of implied warranties is often at issue in construction litigation in Florida. If a contractor or subcontractor is alleged to have caused a counterparty damage as a result of shoddy workmanship or shoddy materials, they could potentially be held liable through a breach of warranty claim.
Implied Warranties: Understanding the Basics
By definition, most construction agreements contain some unstated promises. These unstated promises are often referred to as implied warranties. As a general rule, an implied warranty will guarantee that the work—including both workmanship and materials—will meet the ordinary standard of quality expected in the industry.
As an example, property owners generally do not need to specify that a contractor will use accepted practices of workmanship. A certain basic level of reasonable quality can be assumed. Though it is unstated, an implied warranty is still a warranty. As such, a builder/contractor could face a breach of warranty claim if they are believed to have violated the unstated promises made to the property developer or property owner.
The Specific Terms of the Agreement Matter: Warranties May Be Disclaimed
In construction law, as in any other type of contract law, the specific terms of the agreement are always incredibly important. To some extent, contractors may be able to disclaim certain implied warranties.
For example, if there are clear and well-explained contract terms that state that the contractor will not be meeting certain standards, then they will most likely not be held liable for meeting that standard on implied warranty grounds.
Contractors Can Be Held Liable for Shoddy Workmanship
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 558.001), construction companies can be held legally liable for construction defects. In many of these cases, shoddy workmanship claims involve allegations that the defendant breached a warranty—whether an express warranty or an implied warranty.
Construction defect claims are especially complex legal cases. Florida has strict rules and procedures governing construction defect claims. If you are considering bringing a construction defect claim against a contractor, you must be sure to comply with the state’s notification requirements. Failure to meet notification standards could lead to a claim being dismissed outright.
Call Our West Palm Beach Construction Litigation Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach commercial litigation attorneys handle the complete range of construction litigation cases. If you have questions or concerns about implied warranties, we are here to help. To schedule a completely confidential, no obligation review of your case, please call us today. We represent clients in West Palm Beach, Miami, and throughout the wider region, including in Miami Beach, Homestead, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, and Boynton Beach.