Before homeowners in Nevada can file lawsuits for construction defects, they must first complete a mandatory prelitigation process. This process requires giving proper notice and allowing the contractors and subcontractors time and the right to make repairs. The mandatory prelitigation process is designed to provide a way for construction defects to be resolved without the need for litigation. This helps reduce the number of cases that are filed while providing relief to affected homeowners.
When homeowners discover construction defects, they are required to send a notice of the defects to the contractor prior to commencing litigation. Under the statutory definition of a defect, the defective condition must either create unreasonable risks of injury to the property or person; or they must not have been completed in a good, workmanlike manner and are causing damage. The notice under NRS Chapter 40 must include reasonable details about the defects, including the injury to the property, and the damage it has caused. The notice must also include information about the defect’s location. Finally, the notice must include a signed statement by the homeowner verifying the existence of each claimed deficiency.
Once the notice is completed, the homeowner must send the notice by certified, return-receipt mail to the contractor at the address listed with the State Contractor’s Board. Once the contractor receives the notice of defect, it must forward a copy to each subcontractor, designer, or supplier whose scope of work may be implicated by the defects detailed in the notice.
Inspection and Repair
Within 90 days of receiving the notice, the contractor may request an inspection of the property. The homeowner must provide the subcontractor, supplier, contractor, or designer with reasonable access so that the inspection can be completed. In the contractor’s written response to the notice, he or she must include either an election to repair or declination of repair. If the contractor elects to repair the defect, an estimate of the time it will take to complete the repair and the available dates should be included. Any repair cannot be conditioned upon a homeowner’s settlement or release. If a repair is made, the contractor must provide a statement of repairs to the homeowner for disclosure purposes. If the repair is declined, a prelitigation mediation must be conducted unless it is waived in writing.
An attorney can assist homeowners with the NRS Chapter 40 prelitigation process to adequately preserve the construction defect claims.