Few Actual Changes to Minnesota’s Residential Warranty Statute

1 Jun

A slate of bills recently moved through the Minnesota House and Senate to the desk of Governor Tim Pawlenty which related to the State’s residential construction warranty laws.  They included:

 

  • House File 239, Senate File 6, which provided a remedy to homeowners to recover from the contractor for the homeowner’s short-term housing costs when there is a breach of the statutory warranty, such as in a construction defect case (hereinafter “Temporary Housing Cost Bill”);

 

  • House File 412, Senate File 470, which allowed homeowners 12 years after the warranty date to file a claim (though if more than 10 years, only one year after discovering the breach) and thereby increasing the current period by 2 years (hereinafter “Statute of Limitations Bill”);

 

  • House File 211, Senate File 170, which allowed a judge to award attorneys’ fees should a homeowner prevail in its claims to enforce statutory residential warranties (hereinafter “Attorneys’ Fees Bill”);

 

  • House File 362, Senate File 362, which eliminated the requirement that homeowners provide written notice of major structural defects within 6 months of discovery when, in incidents where the contractor had knowledge of the loss or the damage (hereinafter “Elimination of Notice Requirement Bill”); and

 

  • House File 420, Senate File 776, which required contractors to provide to homeowners, copies of the state’s home warranty laws within the construction contract and prohibited either the contractor or the homeowner from modifying that warranty (hereinafter “Warranty Disclosure Bill”). 

 

Between May 19 and May 21, 2009, Governor Pawlenty vetoed the Temporary Housing Cost Bill, the Statute of Limitations bill, the Attorneys’ Fees Bill, and the Elimination of Notice Requirement Bill.  Governor Pawlenty signed into law only the Warranty Disclosure Bill.  Governor Pawlenty stated that his reason for vetoing the majority of these bills is a concern that those bills would create “burdens on the housing sector during [a] historic recession.”  While many in the construction defect area kept a close watch on these bills, as they had the potential to greatly change the landscape of the construction defect practice area, the end of the day held very little change due to the vetoes by Governor Pawlenty.

 

Chris Renz is a shareholder practicing in the Litigation Practice group at Thomsen & Nybeck, P.A., a law firm in Edina. Thomsen & Nybeck, P.A. has a number of professionals dedicated to meeting the legal needs of individuals, businesses, and associations, both big and small.  Chris concentrates his practice in the areas of Construction Litigation, General Civil Litigation, Home Owners Association Law, Real Estate Litigation, Criminal Law, Employment Law and Real Estate Law. He can be reached at crenz@tn-law.com; (952) 835-7000.

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One Response to “Few Actual Changes to Minnesota’s Residential Warranty Statute”

  1. foundation repair dallas September 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    Yes, it’s definitely difficult to forecast the end of the bubble. I’ve a friend who says that it’s probably not a bubble since he thinks demand would pick up when young adults really begin to move out to look for homes of their own. I wasn’t aware there was a state financial agency which routinely bails out its banks regularly.

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