The Resolution of Construction Defects Act, O.C.G.A. § 8-2-35, et seq, otherwise known as the Right to Repair Act, was enacted in 2004 to provide a legal mechanism for homeowners to resolve construction defect claim against contractors.
Written notice required by claimant/dwelling owner 90 days before suit: The Right to Repair Act requires that the claimant (usually owner of residence) provide written notice to the contractor of the alleged construction defect 90 days before initiating legal action against the contractor. Within 30 days after service of this notice, the contractor must provide a written response to the claim which either (1) offers to settle the claim by money payment, making repairs or a combination of both without inspection, or 2) Proposes to inspect the dwelling that is the subject of the claim. O.C.G.A. § 8-2-38(a) and (b).
If the claimant files suit without first providing the notice required by 8-2-38(a) the court or arbitrator will automatically stay the proceedings until the notice procedure set forth in the Right to Repair Act has been followed. Failure to meet the notice procedure will not entitle the contractor to dismissal of the claimant’s claims.
No response from contractor waives 90 day rule: If the contractor wholly rejects the claim or does not respond to the notice of claim, the homeowner can bring an action against the contractor without further notice, except as otherwise provided by applicable law. If the contractor doesn’t respond to the claimant’s notice letter, the contractor cannot assert that the absence of documents required to be sent with the claimant’s notice letter, relieved the contractor’s obligation to respond to the notice of claim. O.C.G.A. § 8-2-38 (c).
At a minimum, as a contractor, you should request an inspection which will enable the opportunity to inspect and document (with photographs) the alleged defect. Without this inspection, the contractor loses potential evidence with which to defend claimant’s defect claims, as well as the ability to accurately estimate the cost of repair.
Claimant’s rejection of contractor’s offer of settlement to be in writing: If the claimant rejects the settlement offer made by the contractor, the claimant shall provide written notice of the rejection. The claimant’s notice to the contractor shall include the reasons for rejection of the contractor’s settlement offer, including specifically, if the offer omitted any part of the claim or was unreasonable in any manner. O.C.G.A. § 8-2-38 (d).