Section 558.004, Florida Statutes, provides Florida contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and design professionals (collectively “Contractors”) the opportunity to inspect and cure construction defects prior to the filing of a legal action. A Florida property owner must serve a notice of claim on the Contractor at least 60 days prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Fla. Stat. § 558.004(1). The owner’s notice must refer to the statute and describe (i) the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of each alleged construction defect and (ii) the damages or loss resulting from the defect. The property owner should strive to serve the notice within 15 days after discovery of the defect.
Service of the statutory notice sets the following deadlines for the Contractor:
- Within 10 days, the Contractor served with the notice of claim may serve a copy of the notice on 3rd parties whom it reasonably believes are responsible for each defect specified in the notice pursuant to Section 558.004(4), Florida Statutes;
- Within 15 days of the service of the copy of the notice of claim, the 3rd party must serve a written response to the person who served a copy of the notice of claim pursuant to Section 558.004(4), Florida Statutes;
- Within 30 days, the Contractor is entitled to perform a reasonable inspection of the property subject to the construction defect pursuant to Section 558.004(2), Florida Statutes — This privilege may also be extended to 3rd parties served with a copy of the notice of claim;
- Within 45 days, the Contractor must serve a written response on the claimant pursuant to Section 558.004(5), Florida Statutes.
Failure to comply with the pre-suit notice requirement pursuant to Florida law may limit your ability to recover the damages caused by the defect. If you believe a Contractor has performed defective services on your property, you should promptly contact a qualified Florida attorney.