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House Passes Housing Warranty Bill to Thwart 'Judicial Activism'

The Florida House approved a measure Thursday that aids the state's housing industry by maintaining the current law on implied warranty.

House Bill 1013, sponsored by Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, addresses an appellate decision that would expand the application of implied warranty for the first time in 40 years.

Pending review at the state Supreme Court, the 5th District Court of Appeals decision is the first in the country to extend the doctrine of implied warranty to offsite improvements.

At a time when our real estate market is fragile, my bill stops judicial activism from creating a new cause of action that will only cost homeowners money and make Florida less attractive for growth," Artiles said.

Under current law, to bring cause under implied warranty, a home must have serious defects or damages caused by the builder that affect the homes habitability. The 5th DCAs decision would expand the scope of implied warranty to include off-site improvements such as roads and sidewalks and expand claimants to allow homeowners' associations to file suit, not just the homeowner.

Proponents of Artiles' bill said it "will prevent the trial bar from creating a whole new industry of drive-by-and-sue lawyers."

This legislation affirming existing law is good for Florida consumers, Artiles said. It preserves property values, protects homeowners from higher prices, ensures that we attract new job-creators to our state, and solidifies 40 years of case law."

HB 1013 was approved by the House on a 106-10 vote and now goes to the Senate.

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