Texas has enacted legislation that requires homeowners to notify builders of claimed defects and to provide them with an opportunity to repair the defects before the owners start legal proceedings. This “right to repair” statute are the legislatures’ response to the increased filing of time-consuming and expensive construction defect lawsuits. Right to repair statute provides an avenue to avoid litigation whereby the builder can address the homeowner’s claimed defects and attempt to repair the defects and allow homeowners to seek repairs without having to file a lawsuit.
The right to repair statute states requirements and time frames for the resolution of construction defects prior to filing a lawsuit. When a defect is discovered, the owner is required to notify the builder of the defect within a certain period before filing suit. The statutes further provide deadlines for the builder to respond, conduct an inspection, notify the subcontractors, and make an offer to repair, settle, or deny the claim. Additionally, the statutes sometimes limit applicability of the right to repair procedures to certain types of construction and/or defects through statutory definitions.
In Texas, Tex. Prop. Code. Ann. §§ 27.001 – .007 comprise the state’s right to repair statute. First, the claimant must provide the contractor with 60 days’ notice of a defect suit. If the contractor requests, the claimant must provide the contractor with information as to the nature and extent of repairs necessary (including reports, photos, and videotapes). If Subtitle D does not apply, the contractor may make an offer of settlement 45 days after notice of the suit. If the claimant then rejects a reasonable offer or fails to permit repairs, then the amount that the claimant may recover is limited. If the claimant finds an offer made by the contractor to be unreasonable, then the claimant is required to notify the contractor “in reasonable detail” of the reasons why it is considered unreasonable within 25 days after receiving the offer. Also, the amount of monetary damages approximately caused by the defect is limited in circumstances where the claimant rejects a reasonable offer.