If you’ve been toying with the idea of buying new construction while house hunting – you may have heard your Realtor reference the New Home Warranty Act. The state of Louisiana requires this warranty on all new builds for “additional protection for the public against defects in the construction of new homes.”
Who does the New Home Warranty Act protect?
The New Home Warranty Act protects you – the homebuyer. This warranty only remains in effect for 5 years and covers any owners during that time frame.
Meaning if you sold your new build after 3 years – the next owner would have the remaining two.
What does the New Home Warranty Act cover?
It covers many items! However, what you should take note of, is that only select items are covered the entire 5 years. The warranty begins on the date of your act of sale.
Year One Coverage
The first year of the warranty states “… the home will be free from any defect due to noncompliance with the building standards or due to other defects in materials or workmanship not regulated by building standards.”
What does this mean? Before your one year home anniversary, you should get another home inspection and ask the builder for your cosmetic type repairs. If some siding is coming off – call them to repair it now. Once it passes the one year mark, you cannot ask for these deficiencies to be rectified.
Bonus info: the concrete floor of a garage (attached or unattached) that is built separately from a foundation wall or structural element of the home is ONLY good for the first year.
Year Two Coverage
“The plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, and ventilating systems exclusive of any appliance, fixture, and equipment will be free from any defect due to noncompliance with the building standards or due to other defects in materials or workmanship not regulated by building standards.”
If your second-year house anniversary is approaching, go ahead and get the HVAC looked at it and make sure it’s all in working order. If you’ve been having any problems with electrical, heating, or air conditioning, this is your time to speak now or forever hold your peace.
Year Five Coverage
“Five years following the warranty commencement date, the home will be free from major structural defects …”
If your framing or foundation has shown signs of defects, you need to contact the builder before the five-year date of purchase. This is your very last opportunity to get any structural issues addressed by the builder. After this date, it will become your responsibility.
What does the New Home Warranty Act not cover?
Unless otherwise specified in writing – the builder does not have to cover the following:
- landscaping (sodding, seeding, shrubs, trees, etc.)
- improvements not a part of the home
- damage to your property that is not a part of the home and not covered in the purchase price
- any damage due to negligence, improper maintenance, or neglect
- any changes or alterations made to the house after the purchase
- normal wear and tear
- insect damage
- mold or mold damage
If you hire someone else to work on elements of the house that are protected by the new home warranty act – you could possibly void the warranty. It’s always best to contact the builder first. This is not limited to the house, as it also applies to the grading of the soil on the exterior of the home.
How do I not void my new home warranty?
You must give notice to the builder in a timely fashion. Do not take on any repairs yourself until you have spoken with the builder and have gotten everything in writing.
You must send the builder written notice, by registered or certified mail, within one year or knowledge of the defect. (Remember, if you let a problem get worse, this can still void your warranty!)
You must advise of all defects in writing and give the builder “a reasonable opportunity to comply…”
Failure to provide written notice of any and all defects by registered or certified mail will void your warranty!
What if the builder doesn’t respond to my repair requests?
If they violate the New Home Warranty Act – you can sue for actual damages, including attorney fees and court costs.
How do I file a complaint with the state of Louisiana for a bad home builder?
Head to the State of Louisiana’s website to file a complaint.
We at Team Be New Orleans, we are big fans of newly built homes. But, we don’t want people to know what they are getting into!
Check out the state of Louisiana website for the full act.
If you’re ready to find a newly constructed home – text us now!