Implied Construction Warranties Under Alabama Law

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The Implied Warranty of Habitability is a legal concept that applies to new home purchasers. This warranty ensures that the home is inhabitable and usable for its intended purpose. Sims v. Lewis, 374 So.2d 298, 303 (Ala. 1979). To qualify for this warranty, certain conditions must be met, including that the home was constructed by the defendant and sold in a defective condition that impaired the intended use of the residence, and that the plaintiffs were not aware of the defective condition. Additionally, the plaintiffs must have suffered damages as a result of the defective condition.

However, the Implied Warranty of Habitability may not arise when a defendant builds a home on the plaintiff’s land according to plans supplied by the plaintiff. Lowery v. Poore, 447 So. 2d 801, 802 (Ala. Civ. App. 1984). Furthermore, a purchaser of a used residence has no implied warranty of habitability, and the warranty does not apply to the sale of land. Boackle v. Bedwell Const. Co., Inc., No. 1980392, 2000 WL 378191 (Ala. Apr. 14, 2000); Scott v. Gill, 352 So.2d 1143, 1145 (Ala.Civ.App. 1977).

Regarding plans and specifications, an owner who provides a contractor with plans and specifications warrants that the contractor will be able to perform his duties under those plans and specifications. This is known as the Implied Warranty of the Owner Regarding Plans and Specifications, as established in United States v. Spearin, 248 U.S.132 (1918).

Finally, the Alabama Supreme Court has also addressed an implied duty of workmanship in Turner v. Westhampton Court, LLC, 903 So. 2d 82 (Ala. 2004). The court stated that all contracting parties have an implied duty to use reasonable skill in fulfilling their contractual obligations, which is reflected in the Implied Warranty of Workmanship. While faulty construction may constitute a technical performance of the contract and preclude a pure breach of contract action, an action alleging the breach of an implied warranty can overcome this obstacle. Hardon v. Ritter, 710 So. 2d 1254, 1259 (Ala. Civ. App. 1997).

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