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Summary of Minnesota’s New Home Warranty Law

Introduction

Minnesota’s new home warranty statue was enacted in 1977. The statue creates warranties for new homes and home improvements. The focus of this summary is on the new home warranties.

The statutory warranties arise when a “vendor” (a person, firm or corporation which constructs dwellings for the purpose of sale) sells a “dwelling” (a new home building not previously occupied, constructed for the purpose of the habitation), to a “vendee” (a purchaser of a dwelling). The term “vendee” is defined to include subsequent purchasers of the dwelling.

What do warranties cover?

The statutory warranties provide the following coverage:

  • During one year period from the warranty date, the dwelling shall be free from defects caused by faulty workmanship and defective materials due to non-compliance with building standards;
  • During the two year period from the warranty date, the dwelling shall be free from defects caused by faulty installation of plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems
  • During the ten-year period from and after the warranty date, the dwelling shall be free from major construction defects.

The statue defines the term “major construction defects” as meaning actual damage to the load-bearing portion of the dwelling, including damage due to the subsidence, expansion or lateral movement of the soil, which affects the load-bearing function and which vitally affects or eminently likely to vitally affect use of the dwelling for the residential purposes. The term does not include damage due to movement soil cause y flood, earthquake, or other natural disasters.

The term “building standards” is defined under the statue to mean the structural, mechanical, electrical, and quality standards of the home building industry for the geographic area in which the dwelling is situated.

What is not covered?

The statutory warranties covered the “dwelling”. Excluded from the definition of dwelling are the following:

  • Detached garages
  • Driveways
  • Walkways
  • Patios
  • Boundary walls
  • Retaining walls which are not necessary for the structural stability of the dwelling
  • Landscaping
  • Fences
  • Non-permanent construction materials
  • Off-site improvements and other similar items

When does coverage begin?

Warranty coverage under the statute runs from the “warranty date” which is the earlier of the following:

  • The date of the buyer’s first occupancy of the dwelling; or
  • The date on which the buyer takes legal or equitable title to the dwelling

When must a warranty claim be brought?

A warranty claim must be brought within two years from the date discovery of the breach of warranty or it’s barred by the statute of limitations.

DOWNLOAD – Summary of Minnesota’s New Home Warranty Law