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PNS Daily Newscast - August 15, 2018 


Closing arguments today in the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Also on the Wednesday rundown: Primary Election results; climate change is making summer fun harder to find across the U.S.; and how parents can win the battle between kids' outdoor play and screen time.

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When Builders Make Mistakes, NV Homeowners Have Few Legal Options

Nevadans have six years from moving into a house to sue for construction defects, but attorneys say that isn't enough time for some defects to become obvious. (Dennis M/Flickr)
Nevadans have six years from moving into a house to sue for construction defects, but attorneys say that isn't enough time for some defects to become obvious. (Dennis M/Flickr)
August 8, 2018

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada's housing market is booming, with home values and sales up steadily since the Great Recession, but attorneys say there's more legal risk buying a new home in Nevada now than just a few years ago.

The 2015 Nevada Legislature limited the amount of time a homeowner has to take action against a builder for construction defects. The law also prohibits homeowners from being able to recover attorney's fees in these types of lawsuits.

It's been three years since the changes took effect, and attorney Eva Segerblom said more of her clients are discovering expensive or dangerous structural flaws in their homes, and finding out they have few legal options.

"Most people's biggest investment is their home," she said, "and when they don't get what they paid for – which is a new, quality home that was built according to the code – and then they don't have recourse, it can be devastating."

The 2015 change was meant to limit "frivolous" lawsuits and help the housing market rebound, but Segerblom said it has put more homeowners on the hook for contractors' mistakes. She said she hopes state lawmakers will revisit homeowners rights' in the 2019 session.

Before the law changed, homeowners had 10 years from moving into a new home to bring a construction-defect lawsuit to court; now it's only six years. Segerblom said that's a problem because many construction flaws don't become obvious right away. For example, she said, some clients find their homes are built improperly for the soil they're on, which can cause shifts over many years.

"That's going to result in drywall cracks; your doors won't open, your windows won't open, you might even have separation of the baseboards, separation of flooring," she said. "And the problem is, this doesn't stop. It doesn't just go away, and it can be catastrophic."

She recommended that anyone buying a new home in Nevada have an attorney review the purchase contract.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - NV