By Connie Raymundo
(Article published in Costa Blanca News Dec 4th, 2015)
New-build homes appeal to many people for a variety of reasons but
houses, even brand new houses, are not always perfect; faults or
defects may sometimes appear after the purchase.
The Building Law (LOE) provides three different guarantee periods of 1, 3, or 10
years during which the purchaser will be able to complain and seek redress,
depending on the magnitude of the defect:
Ten years: this is the guarantee period when the stability or structural integrity of
the building itself is in jeopardy. This category includes all defects affecting the
main structure and fabric of the house including foundations, supporting walls
and beams etc.
Three years: this guarantee period applies when, because of faults or defects,
the house does not meet habitation requirements with regards to hygiene, health,
environmental protection, noise or thermal isolation energy saving and so on.
One year: this is the guarantee period for minor items such as cosmetic defects
in wall surfaces and painted finishes, marks and scratches on fittings etc.
However, it is essential to realise that different to these guarantee periods is the
limited time available to take legal action. House Defects action expires after
two years from the time when the defects first appeared and/or became known
by the purchaser. Under the provisions of this action Builders, any Agents
involved, as well as the Architects, can all be sued.
In reality though, two years usually proves to be too short a time to sue and
because of this, it has been quite usual for purchasers of new homes to use the
Breach of Contract court action against the builder or promoter (this action goes
only against those parties whose signatures appear on the contracts) because
it’s time limit was 15 years.
However, the section of the Civil Law that specified this 15 year time limit has recently been changed; the new Law 42/15, approved on 7th October, has
reduced the time limit from 15 years to only 5 years.
This new rule is clearly a setback for purchasers of new homes as it considerably
reduces their options for seeking legal redress through the courts.
Also be aware that this new 5 year deadline for court actions does not only apply
to Breach of Contract suits, it also applies to all personal actions; so anyone
having a legal problem can no longer afford to ‘’wait around’’ delay before
contacting an independent and specialised lawyer.
The Building Law (LOE) guarantee periods of 1, 3 and 10 years apply only to
new-build homes, so we will be looking at the rights of purchasers of previously
owned houses in our next article.
Lawyers at Raymundo & Hopman are specialised in these House Defects and
Breach of Contract actions, and will be pleased to study any case and to produce
a preliminary legal report about any purchaser’s possibilities of success free of
Connie Raymundo – Lawyer and Barrister at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman. Reg. nº ICALI 5936.
By Connie Raymundo