Florida Statute 95.11, Limitations of Actions; Adverse Possession, discusses limitations for actions, other than recovery of real property, and the timeframes in which they need to be filed. The statute allows owners a 10-year period after the completion of the project to file suit against contractors for any found defects. If the 10-year period is met, the contractor is free of liability from any further defects the owner may detect.
Effective July 1, 2017, Statute 95.11 defined when a project is deemed “complete”. The statute adds:
“Completion of the contract means that later of the date of final performance of all the contracted services or the date that final payment for such services becomes due without regard to the date final payment is made."
The statute previously did not define when a project was complete. The argument often centered around the definition and the date in which the project in their case was considered complete. In Cypress Fairway Condo. V. Bergeron Construction Co., Inc. [164 So.3d 706], the Fifth District Court of Appeals held that in order for a contract to be considered complete, both parties must complete their obligations to the contract. This called for the owner of the project to pay the contractors for their work in order to conclude their obligations and create a “complete” contract, which as a result, begins the 10-year period in which the contractor is responsible for any defects found.
The statute now states that a contract is deemed complete on either the date of final performance of contracted services or the date the final payment is due, whichever occurs later. As a result, the owner does not control when the project is deemed complete and does not get to argue a longer timeframe to detect defects.