A single warranty date applies to each condominium building in a development.  Meaning that each unit does not have its own warranty date, and units in different buildings will likely have different warranty dates, unless they happen to be completed on the same date

The Facts

Village Lofts Condominium Association consisted of two buildings: A and B.  Building A was substantially completed in 2003 and Building B was substantially completed in November of 2004.  In 2014 the Association discovered various water leaks in Building A.  In June of 2015 they had also found similar leaks in Building B.  The Association repaired the leaks throughout both buildings.  In August 2015 the Association sued the developers and contractors for breach of warranty, breach of contract and negligence.  The defendants brought motions for summary judgment arguing that that the Association couldn’t bring a suit after 10 years based on the statute of repose (similar to a statute of limitations).

Trial Court

The district court agreed with the defendants and granted summary judgment.

Supreme Court

As part of an in-depth analysis, the Supreme Court of Minnesota affirmed the district court.  Quoting a prior decision, the court held that “statutes of repose are ‘intended to eliminate a cause of action’ after a period of time… a point in time arrives beyond which a potential defendant should be immune from liability for past conduct.”

Lessons Learned
  1. Don’t wait until problems arise to investigate for hidden defects – hire an engineer at turnover; and
  2. If defects are found, hire a law firm that has won condominium defect cases previously.

Village Lofts at St. Anthony Falls Association v. Housing Partners III-Lofts, LLC, 937 N.W.2d 430 (2020) (Minn).