The heavy rains offer property owners a unique opportunity to guage the quality of the construction of their home, office, warehouse, etc. Most the of time, Soutern California is fairly dry. However, we are now in an El Nino rain cycle. As a result, your property will be put to the test like never before.
All to often, the waterproofing systems of your property are improperly installed. This means that the waterproofing paper, roofing, flashing, and other weather resistant components will leak. Infiltration of water into your property can have devastating consequences, such as mold growth or dry rot. Often times, your insurance carrier will refuse to cover this damage.
As a result, you will likely bear the cost of repair on your own. The cost to remove and repair mold or dry rot can be very expensive. After you have addressed the mold or dry rot, you must then repair the waterproofing system failure that allowed water to enter your property in the first place.
If your property is relatively new, you may be able to compel your builder or contractor to repair the damage. After all, it is their fault that your property experienced water damage in the first place.
Depending on the type of property and the age, the process for obtaining compensation from your developer or contractor varies.
If your home was built and closed escrow after January 1, 2003, it will be subject to Senate Bill 800 (Civil Code 895 et seq). This is a time and rule sensitive process that requires you to give the builder or contractor notice of your problems, allow them to inspect and propose repairs, mediate (settlement talks), and then litigate (trial or arbitration) if necessary. Failure to comply with this process properly, may result in a waiver of your claim.
If your home is a condominium conversion (typically an apartment turned into a condominium unit), Civil Code 1134 will control. Civil Code 1134 requires a convertor (condominium conversion builder/seller) to provide you with a list of all defects relating to the major systems, such as foundation, structure, roof, stucco, heating and airconditioning, plumbing, electrical, etc. Failure to do so, may subject the conertor to liability.
If your commercial real estate is defective; product liability, warranty, and negligence principles will apply.
Regardless of whether your property is residential or commercial, you should keep a watchful eye for the following defects during rainstorms: damp walls, black spots on walls (could be mold), moist spots on carpet or flooring, musty odor (could be mold or dry rot), and dripping from the ceiling or walls. Also look for water stains below the inside of your windows and in the corners as these are common signs of window leaks. If you can, look inside the attic. This will likely be the first place you will spot a roof leak.
If you see any of these conditions, take pictures and document them as best as you can. The more evidence you preserve, the better chance you have of getting these items fixed by your developer or contractor.
You should obtain the assistance of an attorney for these matters. Most construction defect attorneys work on contingency, which means they work for a percentage of any recovery. Thus, they only get paid if you get compensation from your developer or contractor.
These cases are complicated and you can bet your developer or contractor will be getting assistance from their attorneys. Don't get taken advantage of by your developer or contractor, hire an attorney.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please refer to my website http://www.voneschlaw.com/ or call me toll free at 866-605-0023. I represent Southern California property owners in construction defect matters.