Is there a statutory Builder Warranty in South Carolina?

by | Jun 12, 2015 | Legal Tips

Real estate agents commonly and incorrectly believe there is a statutory warranty on new construction. I have heard agents tell their clients that builders are required by law to provide a home warranty on the property that will fix all issues for a set period of time. This is incorrect. In South Carolina there is no state statute specifying builders’ warranty obligations to a homeowner.

In South Carolina builders have an implied warranty that the home is habitable and constructed in a workmanlike manner.  The implied warranty does not guarantee that this house is perfect, nor does it relieve the homeowner of his responsibility to maintain the home. Often builders disclaim the implied warranties by substituting an express warranty in its contract.

An express warranty may be offered by builders. Such express warranty may cover punch-list items, systems or the structure for a set period of time. Alternatively, builders may offer a third party warranty such as a 2-10 HBW Warranty. The main thing to understand is outside of the express warranty which is optional, the state does not require builders to warranty anything. Please do not tell your client that builders have to give a warranty or that the law requires builders to do anything.  All builders have to do is build the house in a workmanlike manner and insure it is habitable, unless they give an express warranty instead.

I think agents confuse warranty with the Statute of Repose. The Statute of Repose holds that one must bring an action arising from defective or unsafe construction within 8 years after the date of substantial completion of the improvement.  The purpose of the Statute of Repose is to set a final deadline for filing an action so builders have an end date for liability. The applicable Statute of Limitation (typically three years) also still applies from the date of discovery.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions.

 Photo by eirikso

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