Image of a new home, representing the requirements for contracts, warranties, and resolving disputes for residential construction damages in Indiana.

Residential Construction Damages in Indiana: Contract and Warranty Laws

Indiana’s laws governing residential construction contracts and warranties are intended to protect the various parties to such contracts. That includes both homeowners and service providers such as construction companies, suppliers, contractors, and insurers. The laws also provide a framework for resolving disputes related to residential construction damages in Indiana.

The Indianapolis residential construction defect attorneys at Camden & Meridew help clients on both sides of Indiana construction law matters ensure contracts and warranties meet the requirements of the law and work toward an efficient resolution of these issues when disputes arise.

Preventing and Resolving Disputes Over Residential Construction Damages in Indiana

This blog will focus on two primary laws that govern residential construction contracts and warranties: the Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act and the Indiana New Home Construction Warranty Act. Individuals and businesses entering into these contracts must follow the rules set forth under Indiana laws for the creation and execution of contracts and when resolving disputes that arise related to residential construction damages or claims.

The Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act

The Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act (HICA) outlines the specific information that must be included in residential home improvement contracts. It also governs how these contracts must be executed and sets forth the remedies and penalties for violations.

This statute applies only to contracts for improvements of residential property. Contractors must have all necessary licensing and permits in place before beginning work. The contract for the project should also be fully executed before work begins.

Under the Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act, residential improvement project contracts must include the following:

  • The name of the consumer and address of the property to be improved;
  • The name, address, and email of the contractor;
  • Contact information for the parties the consumer should contact regarding problems or questions;
  • The date the contract is provided to the consumer, including any applicable timeframes for acceptance;
  • A description of the improvements proposed and relevant specifications;
  • Approximate dates for starting and completing the project, including contingencies that could impact the completion date;
  • The contract price;
  • Notice of any third-party involvement by subcontractors, vendors, or others; and
  • Signature lines for the contractor or representative agent and any consumers party to the contract.

HICA also requires home improvement contracts to be written and presented in a manner easily read and understood by the consumer. Further provisions of the act address matters related to insurers, third parties, contract modifications, and consumer rights, among others.

Indiana home improvement contracts must be signed by the contractor before the consumer makes a down payment, and the contractor must provide a copy of the fully executed contract to the consumer immediately.

Violations of the law governing home improvement contracts in Indiana are deemed “deceptive acts” and are actionable by the Indiana Attorney General or consumers under the provisions of Indiana Code § 24-5-0.5-4, which allows actions for actual damages with court discretion to increase penalties for acts it deems willfully deceptive.

Compliance with the Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act is beneficial to all parties involved, but achieving this is not always a simple task. The Indianapolis residential construction defect attorneys at Camden & Meridew help contractors ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and resolve claims when they occur. We also assist consumers in evaluating contracts and following proper legal procedures to resolve problems when home improvement projects don’t go as planned.

The Indiana New Home Construction Warranty Act

The Indiana New Home Construction Warranty Act applies to the sale of newly constructed homes and those sold under contract to be constructed. The law states that a builder may warrant, effective beginning on the warranty date of the home, the following to the initial homebuyer:

  • The home will be free of defects due to faulty workmanship or defective materials for two years;
  • The home will be free of defects due to faulty installation of the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems for two years;
  • The roof and roofing systems will be free of defects due to faulty workmanship or defective materials for four years;
  • The home’s structure will be free of major defects for ten years.

These warranties are in addition to the rights of the consumer as established in the home construction contract and survive if the home is sold to a new buyer. If the home is sold, the seller is responsible for informing the buyer of the warranty date and timeframes remaining.

A builder may disclaim implied warranties if the warranties above are included in the contract and all insurance obligations required by law are met. In these cases, the contractor must furnish the buyer with a separate Notice of Waiver of Implied Warranties containing language specified in Indiana Code § 32-27-2-9.

If the terms of a new home construction warranty are breached, the homeowner may bring an action for actual damages, foreseeable related damages, and attorney’s fees when specified in the contract.

The statutory requirements for home improvement warranties are similar to those for new homes but contain language specific to improvements to existing structures and systems. These warranty requirements are outlined in Indiana Code §§ 32-27-1-1 to 32-27-1-15.

A Contractor’s Right to Repair Residential Construction Damages in Indiana

Indiana law provides construction contractors a right to repair, also called a right to cure. This statute requires the homeowner to serve the contractor a written notice of a claim for residential construction damages 60 days in advance of filing. The contractor must respond within 21 days and offer to inspect and repair any issues, compromise by settlement, or dispute the claim.

This process involves specific details and timeframes that must be met by both parties to avoid negative outcomes. Experienced Indiana residential construction defect attorneys can help clients on both sides of these disputes seek efficient and successful resolution of claims for residential construction damages in Indiana.

Get Help from Our Indianapolis Residential Construction Defect Attorneys

The Indianapolis residential construction defect attorneys at Camden & Meridew, P.C. have the knowledge and skill to create and review construction contracts and warranties to ensure they meet the requirements of all applicable laws and provide the protections needed. We can also evaluate claims related to residential construction damages in Indiana and guide clients through the proper legal processes for a successful resolution. Schedule a consultation to discuss your Indiana construction law needs by calling 317-770-0000 or completing this online contact form.