LEAKS IN YOUR NEW HOME?? ILLINOIS APPELLATE COURT CLARIFIES TO WHOM WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY EXTENDS
Saw a recent Illinois Appellate Court opinion the other day clarifying who can be sued on implied warranty of habitability claims. In 1324 W. Pratt Condominium Association v. Platt Construction Group, multiple homeowners were suing the developer, Platt Construction. The homeowners had actually purchased the units from an unrelated developer. Platt never had any direct contracts with any of the owners.
After Platt finished the building in 2005, a serious water intrusion problem developed. Water leaked around around windows, doors, ceilings and vents both in the units and common areas. The structure of the building was damaged as were some personal items belonging to the respective owners. To make a bad situation worse, mold developed. The owners sued Platt, alleging, amongst other theories, breach of the implied warranty of habitability. The defendant moved to dismiss all counts and as to the breach of implied warranty count, argued it only extends to builders who are involved in the sale. The trial court granted the motion.
The plaintiff appealed the dismissal of the implied warranty count[as well as another court that I won’t get into]. The Appelate Court noted that the objectives behind the implied warranty are twofold – holding builders accountible and protecting buyers. The Court noted the warranty is applicable against a lessor OR builder of a unit where latent defects interfere with the ability to enjoy the property. Consequently the mere fact the defendant didn’t sell the units was irrelevant. The trial court ruling was reversed and the buyers were permitted to pursue that theory against the builder.