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Approach

Condominium, Townhome and Homeowner Associations

Associations have valuable warranty rights provided by law. However, associations need to act promptly to avoid having their claims barred by statutes of limitation.

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The first step is to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the construction quality of your project while the association still has time to enforce its warranty rights. That evaluation starts with a survey which gives unit owners an opportunity to note potential defects of which they may be aware.

The second step is to obtain a comprehensive report from a building envelope consultant (e.g. an architect or an engineer) evaluating the construction quality of your association’s building and to provide the developer with a copy of that report.

The third step is to determine in a timely manner the extent to which the developer is willing to address the defects consistent with the association’s consultant’s recommendations.

If the above process does not result in resolution of the matter, an association will probably need to consider taking legal action against the developer and its contractors.

Our firm can help in every step of this process, including recommending a consultant, evaluating the consultant’s proposed scope of investigation, reviewing the resulting report and ensuring that the developer responds in a timely and appropriate manner.

If litigation becomes necessary, our firm will use the litigation as a tool in achieving a resolution of the association’s claims through a mediation process. We have found that most construction defect claims can be resolved through mediation and without a trial.

We have also found that where all else fails, a lawsuit is an effective mechanism to achieve dispute resolution because of the following reason: developers and their contractors do not want to take the risk of a jury trial and therefore are usually willing to resolve a construction defect claim before a scheduled trial date. Thus, a lawsuit enables an association to get a trial date, which is what motivates a developer and its contractors to settle an association’s claims.

Fee Structure

We handle construction defect claims on a contingent fee or hourly basis. We also offer a hybrid fee structure combining a lower percentage contingent fee with a lower hourly rate.

We may be willing to take your case on a contingent fee basis. When we do so, our client may or may not be required to advance costs depending on how that issue is addressed in our fee agreement. All contingent fees are calculated on a specified percentage of the gross recovery. If we handle a case on a contingent fee basis, there is no attorney fee unless there is an actual recovery on the client’s behalf.

  • 5 Common Construction Defects

    • Leaking Window
      Leaking Window
    • Poor Waterproofing
      Poor Waterproofing
    • Css Template Preview
      Improper Window Flashing
    • Title of defects goes here
      Ice Dam from Poor Insulation
    • Improper Installation of Flashing
      Improper Installation of Flashing
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  • Mission Statement

    I have been a litigator for my entire career, long before I started representing condo Associations. I have over 25 years in construction related litigation and have tried dozens of cases. So I know a lot about the litigation process and know how to try a case.

    I started out representing developers in their disputes with contractors and others. In the mid 1980's condominium development took off, and my developer clients built their condo projects the same way they had built their apartment projects. So they leaked. And condo Associations started suing them and I started defending them in those lawsuits.

    At some point I decided I preferred representing the condo Associations in these disputes rather than the developers, so I switched sides, you might say.

    Having represented developers, I learned how they and their insurers approached the defense of these defect suits. So when I started to represent the Associations, I felt I could anticipate how the developers and their insurers were likely to react.

    And while construction defect cases rarely go to trial, if you have the confidence that you can try a case if it doesn’t settle, that confidence gets communicated to the other side. And if your opponent believes you are prepared to take a case to trial if you don’t get a reasonable settlement offer, you have a better chance of getting a reasonable settlement offer.

    Perhaps the biggest challenge is to get Board members to abandon their misconceptions about the way their project was constructed, about the law, about lawyers and about the legal process.

    I have helped Associations recover around $200 million dollars as a result of defective construction, involving close to 200 different projects.

    Richard Levin

Unit Owner Survey

Protect valuable property rights in the event of construction defects and the resulting damage to your condominium or townhome project.