What is the Statute of Limitations for Breach of a Construction Contract?
In Florida, section 95.11(3)(c), Florida Statutes, requires actions brought within four years if it is “founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property, with the time running from the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest . . . “
There is also also a discovery rule which extends this limitations period for latent defects.
In the recent case of Brock v. Garner Window & Door Sales, Inc., 2016 WL 830452 (Fla. 5thd CA March 4, 2016), Brock hired Garner Window to install windows in their home. The home sustained water intrusion and Brock sued Garner Window. The lawsuit was filed more than 4 years after discovery of the latent defect, but less than 5 years. Garner argued that the general five year statute of limitations for actions founded on written contracts applied. The basis of this argument was that Garner Window was not a licensed contractor.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected this argument and held that the statute of limitations is still four years, and that an unlicensed contractor can raise this defense.