How to make a claim on housing construction faults | Part 1

The dream of home ownership in Spain could be of a fragile nature. Your dream may burst up right in front of your face with a simple humidity stain, a crack in the wall or may just fill you with uncertainty if a door does not shut properly. The thought of structural fault or workmanship of a building could collapse all illusions you had on your property, especially when the house is brand new.

Always in writing!!

Surprise, indignation and confusion are common among owners when flaws are detected, in general several months after having received the keys. After discovering the fault, you should investigate claim deadlines, have the opinion of an independent professional and take care that any claim to the property developer, is made in writing.

In case of damage to a new home, law protects the owner. This is the first aspect that you need to know. For more than ten years, the building planning law regulates the rights and obligations linked to new housing, establishes which professionals involved in the construction and what the responsibilities of each one are in the event that something goes wrong.

The Spanish Building Law "La ley de Ordenación de la Edificación (LOE for short)" of 1999, distinguishes three groups of defects, ordered according to their severity, and specifies what the warranty periods for each of them are. Now, how is this law implemented? To whom should address the complain to and what is the most effective procedure to do so?

Who is responsible for what?

  • The property developer is the main person or company responsible for the whole development. Its role is crucial in the process of building and, therefore, is the person who should respond to the problems of construction of the building or the resort. Any complaint or claim is made must reach, firstly, his hands.
  • Being responsible does not mean that he is the only one. A housing construction companies and other professionals are also involved. Architects, builders, specialists in quality control, material suppliers... The list is long.
  • When it is detected a malfunction, as well as notify the property developer, it is advisable to also claim before the professional responsible for the failure: If the problem is in the window glass, it is advisable to also pursue a complaint against the company that was in charge of putting them in. In case of doubt, the property developer can inform you on who was responsible for what.

Not all defects are the same. Some are more serious than others and their own warranties vary depending on this premise. If the stability of the house and the safety of their inhabitants are in danger, the greater is the period of coverage is provided. The law distinguishes three groups of problems:

  • 1 year warranty: for defects in elements of a finishing nature.
  • 3 years warranty: for defects that could prevent the occupier of the house enjoy an acceptable condition of healthiness or any defect that may affect the building shell or its installations.
  • You have the10 year's warranty: for any defects that may affect foundation, supports, beams, floors, load-bearing walls or other structural elements and which undertake directly the mechanical resistance and stability of the building.

Warranties begin when the builder officially hands over to the property developer the building and both sign the corresponding minutes. In general, this agreement is carried out about a month after the final certificate of work it is signed by the architect. These papers, with their dates, are part of the "Building Book" a set of documents related to the building which handed over to the owner.

The owner has a period of 24 months to claim, even if the warranty period has expired. Unlike warranties, ranging, claims have a single term. No matter what the type of fault. In all cases, the homeowner has two years to claim it. This way, if a year and a half of brand new home he discovered a leak from the outside; he will have 24 months to claim its reparation, even if the warranty period has expired.

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As it is impossible to know in detail every case asked in this blog, all our replies are given in good faith but we strongly suggest that you obtain private advice from a solicitor /and /or  architect who will be able to study in depth your own particular case.

Al ser imposible conocer en profundidad cada caso, todos los consejos y contestaciones a la preguntas realizadas en este blog, los consejos dados son propiciado en términos generales por lo que se deberá contrastar con el asesoramiento privado de un abogado  y/o un arquitecto para estudiar en profundidad su caso.