When talking with builders you may hear the warranty referred to as a “1-2-10 Limited Warranty.” In June of 2005, the Texas Residential Construction Commission promulgated statutory minimum residential construction performance standards and warranties. Thus, the effect of Section 430.001 was to create a minimum threshold for builder performance, while preempting builder exposure to nebulous implied warranties.
The warranty has three periods:
- One-Year Limited Warranty on Workmanship and Materials
- Two-Year Limited Warranty on the Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC Systems
- Ten-Year Limited Warranty on Structural Components and Habitability
Each level comes with a set of performance standards that are spelled out in the Express Limited Home Warranty and Performance Standards. Additionally, manufacturers’ warranties cover many items in the home.
What does this really mean for new construction homeowners?
Workmanship and Material
In most cases, construction defects in workmanship and materials will become evident in the first year of a new homeowner moving in. Although a good builder will walk the house many times looking for defects prior to you moving in, there is almost always a few things that will need to be repaired or adjusted once you start living in the home. For example, there might be a cabinet drawer that is sticking or a door not closing properly. In that case, the builder will schedule a time with you to come out and make the repair.
Electrical Plumbing and HVAC Systems
The electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems (air conditioning and heating systems) have a warranty period of two years. Thus, if you start to have issues with any of these systems, it’s the builder’s responsibility to make the necessary repairs. An example of an HVAC claim would be if the unit stops cooling because of a slow leak that was indictable prior to you moving in.
Structural and Habitability
The structural components of your home are warrantied for ten years. The major structural components are defined as the load-bearing portions of the home:
- Footings and Foundations
- Columns (other than cosmetic)
- Load-Bearing Portions of Walls and Partitions
- Roof Framing Systems, to Include Ceiling Framing
- Floor Systems
- Masonry Arches
In addition to the 1-2-10 warranty, in most cases there are manufacturer warranties that can be applied if something were to go wrong. For instance, if your Sub-Zero refrigerator stops working in year three, you would still have coverage from the manufacturer’s five-year warranty. Just keep in mind that manufacturer warranties differ and you will need to refer to the specific manufacturer to verify coverage.
Most builders will leave with you the owner’s manual that either has the warranty spelled out or will refer you to a link to use as reference.
What are the Homeowner Responsibilities?
There are things that a homeowner has to keep in mind. There is a difference between normal wear-and-tear and poor workmanship. For example, if you have wood floors throughout your home, and drag a large piece of furniture across it, the scratches that may occur are considered normal wear-and-tear.
In addition, as a homeowner, there are things you need to do to maintain the home. An example of this would be changing your AC filters or keeping your roof gutters clean.
Just like the performance standards discussed above, the homeowner’s responsibilities are also included in the Express Limited Home Warranty and Performance Standards linked above.
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