Where does it end? Responsibility for defects does not necessarily end on the expiry of the defects liability period

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It is important to differentiate between the Defects Liability Period and the Limitation Period early on in contractual negotiations and ensure that they are accurately defined throughout.

Defect Liability Period (DLP)

The DLP is the period for which a contractor is contractually entitled and obliged to return to site to remedy defects and generally spans from 12 to 24 months from the date of practical completion.  This period is only available where it is expressly provided for in the contract between the client and the contractor and provides a mechanism for remedying defects which are not apparent until after completion.

Limitation period

It is incorrect to assume that once the DLP has expired, no further claims may be brought against the contractor. The Limitation Act 1980 allows clients additional time to bring a claim against a contractor for a period of up to 6 years where the contract was signed under hand, and for a period of 12 years where the contract was signed as a deed. These periods run from the date on which the cause of action occurred but this is often considered to be the date of practical completion.

If a claim is not brought within the limitation period, a defendant can plead that the remedy sought is time-barred. The limitation periods can be expressly amended using clear and unambiguous wording in a contract, but if the intention is to exclude the Limitation Act defences when extending a limitation period, this must be expressly stated – it is not implied.

Contact our Real Estate Dispute Resolution  team today

If you would like to discuss any issue relating to this blog, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Real Estate Dispute Resolution Team on 01895 207835 or 01895 207295, or email us at propertydisputes@ibblaw.co.uk