Georgia’s Right to Repair Act
Procedures for Resolving Disputes Between Homeowners and Contractors
Georgia law, referred to as the “Right to Repair Act,” mandates a process through which homeowners assert claims against contractors for construction defects before the homeowner may pursue legal action. The intent of the legislature was to require an alternative procedure to resolve these disputes before costly and time consuming lawsuits are filed. The basic premise of the law is that, once a contractor is provided notice of the homeowner’s claim of a construction defect, the contractor, before a suit is filed, may (a) inspect the property to verify the defect, (b) offer to repair the defect, (c) offer to settle the claim for monetary payment, (d) repair in part and settle with payment in part, and/or (e) reject the homeowners’ claim.
Georgia’s Right to Repair Act has very strict deadlines that each party must comply with. If the homeowner or contractor does not assert their rights under the act in the proper manner and time, that party may lose certain rights or suffer consequences later in a lawsuit.
Alford & Burkhart provides clients, whether homeowner or contractor, guidance through this process with the precision necessary to protect rights and interests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Claimants – Georgia law states that anyone asserting a claim concerning a construction defect to a “dwelling.” In sum, a “dwelling” is a single-family house, duplex, or multifamily unit designed for residential use.
Contractor – Georgia law applies the Right to Repair Act to “contractors,” which includes any person or entity who is engaged in the business of designing, developing, constructing or selling dwellings or common areas, alterations of or additions to existing dwellings or common areas, or the repair of such improvements. This broad definition would cover general contractors and subcontractors, such as plumbers, electricians, HVAC professionals, painters, and all other common residential construction businesses.
Georgia’s Right to Repair Act is a mandatory prerequisite to a homeowner filing a lawsuit against a contractor. If a Homeowner fails to comply with the Right to Repair Act before filing suit, the Contractor may ask the judge to “stay” the lawsuit until the Homeowner goes through the process.
The Homeowner (“Claimant”) has the right to reject the Contractor’s proposal to repair the construction defect or to pay for it. However, if the Homeowner later decides to file a lawsuit against the Contractor, the Homeowner may be limited in how much he/she can recover in the suit if the Contractor’s proposal was reasonable. Thus, Georgia law creates a penalty against the Homeowner that chooses to reject a Contractor’s reasonable offer to repair or settle a construction defect.