No one ever said that building a new home would be easy, and unfortunately, things can go wrong. Whether it’s the builder losing square footage or a botched bathroom, you have Texas breach of contract rights. However, before you can sue a builder or contractor, you must work through the Texas Building Code steps to remedy your situation. Learn the steps to handle a Texas breach of contract during your new home construction.

What is a Breach of Contract in Texas?

A breach of contract is a material violation of agreement terms between two parties that results in damages. For a court to find that a breach of contract occurred, four elements must be present:

  • There must be a valid and enforceable contract between the parties;
  • One party must fail or refuse to perform its obligations under the contract;
  • The failure or refusal must be material and result in damages to the other party; and
  • The damages must have been reasonably foreseeable when the contract began. 

If all of these elements are present, then you may have a claim for breach of contract against your builder or contractor. 

However, before filing a lawsuit, it’s crucial to work through the actionable remedies in Chapter 27 of the Texas Property Code.

The Texas residential construction liability act gives the procedures for providing notice, getting an inspection, and settling claims related to construction defects. This act also applies to “any action to recover damages or other relief arising from a construction defect, except a claim for personal injury, survival, or wrongful death or for damage to goods.”

Construction Defects: What Are They?

A construction defect when you are building a new home is when you have a complaint against a contractor concerning:

  • Design
  • Construction
  • Repair of a new residence
  • Appurtenance to a residence

A residential defect is any deficiency in the design, construction, or performance of a dwelling that:

  • Materially affects habitability.
  • Might threaten the life, health, or safety of an ordinary occupant
  • Causes physical damage to property
  • Substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of property

Steps to Take If There is a Breach of Contract

If you think you may have a claim, before filing a lawsuit, you’ll need to send your contractor 60 days’ written notice of your complaints via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Write your notice to describe, in reasonable detail, the construction defects. This notice must include a description of the problem and your name, address, and telephone number.

Once you’ve sent this notice, the builder or contractor will have an opportunity to inspect the property and determine whether or not the problem is indeed a residential defect.

Suppose the contractor asks for evidence of the construction defect. In that case, you’ll need to provide pictures or other proof of the residential construction defect and what you need to remedy the problem.

The contractor may request to inspect your property within 35 days of receiving your notification letter. The inspection will help your contractor understand the defect better and see what repairs you may need. 

By law, you must give the contractor a reasonable opportunity to inspect the property.

Your Contractor May Offer You a Settlement

Talking with an experienced real estate attorney at this point just makes sense. Your attorney will understand how to negotiate your best settlement going forward. 

If the contractor offers less than what you need, your attorney may work with them to achieve better or more complete repairs. Your attorney will also know what a “reasonable offer” looks like in your local jurisdiction.

Your contractor has 45 days from receiving your notice of construction defects to make a written offer of settlement to you. In the offer, the contractor should describe in reasonable detail what repairs they are willing to do for your construction defect.

The contractor’s offer must include the following:

  • Either an agreement to repair the defect OR
  • An agreement to have the defect fixed by an independent contractor

You have 25 days after receiving the settlement offer to accept or reject it. To refuse an offer, it’s a good idea to write a letter explaining your reasons for rejecting it. The contractor may also add to their offer within 10 days if you decline it.

If you’re still having trouble getting your builder or contractor to take action, you may want to consider working with a local real estate attorney to take your next best steps and get the outcome you deserve.

How to File a Claim in Court for Breach of Contract

If you’ve worked through the steps above and still have not come to an agreement, your next step is filing a claim in court.

You can file a lawsuit for breach of contract if:

  • The contract has a valid legal purpose
  • You gave proper notice as required by law, and the contractor failed to make repairs 
  • The contractor made an offer of settlement, but the offer was unreasonable
  • You rejected the offer, and the contractor failed to create a new offer within the time frame specified by law.

It’s best to consult with an experienced real estate attorney in your area before taking this step. They will be able to help you navigate the process and ensure you have a strong case before moving forward.

While it’s not always easy to get your builder or contractor to make repairs, you have Texas breach of contract rights that you can enforce if negotiations fail. By following the steps above, you’ll be one step closer to getting the outcome you deserve.

We Can Help

At Jarrett Law, we understand the Texas construction laws that contractors and builders must abide by. Our experienced real estate attorneys work to bring you the best possible outcome in your construction defect case. 

If you’re having trouble with your new home construction, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. We’ll review your case and help you determine your next best steps.