The terms of a contract between a contractor and property owner can be numerous and complex. But a construction contract can go beyond what is written on the document, thanks to Missouri’s implied construction warranties.
There are two types of warranties: express and implied. An express warranty is one that the parties to a contract explicitly agree to and include in the written agreement. Implied warranties are part of Missouri common law, which means they are not in a statute but arose from traditional legal practice. The property owner can choose to enforce these warranties in court even if they are not included in the original contract.
The key implied warranty
When it comes to construction projects, perhaps the most important implied warranty is the warranty for quality and fitness. This comes up most often when the owner claims the construction contains defects. Missouri common law defines this warranty narrowly. Only latent defects, not reasonably obvious ones, are covered. For example, a structural beam that appears to be proper but is understrength. The homeowner is not likely to find out about this defect until the beam begins to fail, which could be years after they move in. However, subsequent purchasers from the owner who contracted for the project do not enjoy this warranty.
Confronting construction litigation
Even experienced and reputable contractors and developers might face litigation at any time over the quality of their work. It is critical to develop a legal strategy that shields your business from liability as much as possible.