Implied Warranties and Construction Law in Arizona
This week, we will be discussing implied warranties under Arizona law. You may be familiar with express warranties, which are articulated promises under the contract. But implied warranties are warranties created by law, which are read into the contract even though they are not explicitly stated in the contract.
Under Arizona law, your contract, whether it says it or not, likely requires that a contractor performs its work in a “good, workmanlike manner.” Of course, one can include such a provision in their contract that explicitly says that, however, such a provision will be supplemented if the contract fails to include one. Please read below to learn more about implied warranties that exist in construction law. Also, please note that the goal of this article is to discuss residential real estate projects, not commercial real estate. Under Arizona law, there is a difference between how residential projects are viewed relative to how commercial projects are viewed.
Implied Warranties in the Big Picture
In general, there are four separate ways in which Contractors are regulated in Arizona. These four ways are: 1) Contracts; 2) Administrative Regulation (i.e. Registrar of Contractors’ Standards); 3) Appellate Courts (Implied Warranties); and by 4) Statute.
As mentioned above, warranties can be express or implied. In fact, there are many instances where a contractor’s breach of duty invokes all four of these bodies of law in the same case. A seasoned Arizona real estate attorney will understand the importance of these bodies of law and will be able to advise you accordingly on your rights as a consumer in regard to construction defects in Arizona.
Implied Warranty Example: “Workmanlike Manner”
As noted above, a duty to work in a “workmanlike manner” is an example of an implied warranty. The Arizona Supreme Court has further clarified that workmanlike manner means: “Ordinarily skilled manner as a skilled workman should do it.” This provision effectively sets the minimum standard in which a contractor can work. As discussed below, this warranty can’t be disclaimed or avoided by leaving the provision out of the contract.
While warranties concerning “workmanlike manner” appear to be simple, this area of the law can be ripe for a lot of factual issues. Consequently, an experienced attorney will be able to look at the facts of your case and have a robust knowledge of the case law to know whether you have a cause of action against your contractor, and they can help you understand your consumer rights against construction defects in Arizona.
Implied Warranties- Can They be Disclaimed?
In other areas of the law, it is possible to disclaim express and implied warranties (often subject to some limitation). In real estate law in Arizona, Contractors are prohibited from disclaiming implied warranties designed to protect purchasers or owners. For example, one implied warranty under Arizona law is the “implied warranty of fitness for habitation.”
Contractors are not allowed to dismiss this warranty, even if the contract leaves this clause out. Why? Caselaw has made it clear that Arizona courts are concerned for “innocent purchasers” who should be protected. Further, Arizona case law also suggests that builders should be held accountable for their work. Ultimately, any provision in an Arizona construction contract that is attempting to disclaim implied warranties of workmanship and habitability will be void as to both the original purchaser and subsequent purchasers.
Find an Experienced Construction Defect Attorney in Phoenix
All construction projects in Arizona will involve these implied warranties and construction standards. As discussed above, for policy reasons, many of these warranties cannot be limited under Arizona real estate law. Our experienced construction defect attorneys can review any construction issues and assess the potential validity of a claim. We routinely represent clients with construction defects and help them pursue a corrective work order to repair any damages. Contact us today at 602-533-2840 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.