Home Lemon Laws—
Protecting Residential Homes
An Overview of Home Lemon laws
Lemon laws are meant to protect you, the consumer, if a manufacturer fails to repair a product to the your satisfaction. Home lemon laws protect you if the builder did a poor job of building your house.
What Is the Home Lemon Law?
In 2001, Texas introduced legislation to give home buyers the same protections offered to car buyers. Until that time, there was little legislation that covered homes that were lemons due to major construction defects.
In a grassroots effort that swept the nation, landmark bills were passed to force builders to buy back or replace defective homes.
There are federal laws for industry standards for construction in homes, but federal lemon laws typically cover motorized products, such as cars, appliances, boats and motor homes.
Do All States Have a Home Lemon Law?
Some states are in the process of enacting new home lemon laws based on the Texas legislation. Some of those states are New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida, California and Nevada. These home lemon laws give contractors 60 days to fix defects that are a serious safety hazard, reduce the market value of the house or reduce the ability of the owner to sell the house.
What's the Difference Between Home Lemon Laws and Motor Home (RV) Lemon Laws?
Federal lemon laws and state consumer protection laws typically cover motorized products, which covers motorhomes but not residential homes. There are federal laws that govern construction standards, but states are in the process of enacting their own home lemon laws.
How To Tell If Your House Is a Lemon
If you have a serious defect that is a safety hazard, or could reduce your new home's market value, such as a large crack in the foundation, or abnormal settling or leaking, your home could be considered a lemon.
What To Do When You Think or Know That Your Home Is a Lemon
First, determine if your house is built in accordance with federal industry standards. Then determine what the extent of the damage is and whether it can be repaired in a reasonable amount of time to new home condition. Your claim may fall under federal construction standards violations or state new home lemon law legislation, depending on what you find out.
Do Any States Have Better Chances of "Winning" Than Others?
States that are aggressively working on new home lemon laws are much more sympathetic to consumers in an effort to weed out unscrupulous developers and contractors. Those states that have the highest incidence of complaints are also the ones that have effective legislation or pending legislation.
Top States With the Most Complaints of Lemon Homes
The top states seem to be the ones where the building booms have taken place at such a speed that construction standards have been hard to enforce. States like Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona have the highest numbers of complaints, although the problem seems to be nationwide.
Home Lemon Laws—Summary
Federal lemon laws are meant to protect consumers who own motorized products such as cars, motor homes, boats and motorcycles. Look into your state's laws to see what kinds of remedies are available under existing consumer protection laws and new home lemon law legislation.
NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.