The launch of the Green Party’s Defective Dwelling Bill 2021 today (September 30) aims to ensure homeowners in Ireland can be confident that homes are fit for purpose and that there is accountability for building defects.
The Bill calls for a new statutory obligation on anyone who arranges, undertakes or executes residential construction works, to ensure they are executed with suitable and proper materials and in compliance with the law.
Launching the Bill, Green Party Spokesperson for Housing Francis Noel Duffy TD, said;
“I am delighted to launch the Defective Dwellings Bill 2021 today. It comes at a time when thousands of homeowners and tenants around the country are impacted by defective properties with many people living in crumbling homes on the verge of collapse. Ultimately, the Defective Dwelling Bill aims to ensure that homes are fit for human habitation, and if defects are identified, people can be assured that there is a robust framework for legal remedies.
“Importantly the Bill imposes a statutory duty on construction workers, builders and others involved in construction works to see to it that the work is executed properly and that the materials used are fit for purpose and not defective.
“The mica redress campaign has highlighted the urgency for a proper legal remedy framework, a clear timeline in which action can be taken, and the assurance that damages recoverable will include economic loss, anxiety and stress suffered as a result of the defects.”
Homeowner defects have become a key issue in the area of housing and the current Programme for Government commits to reviewing the issue of defective housing and reforms and addressing the impacts on homeowners.
Deirdre Ní Fhloinn BL, one of the key contributors to the Bill, said;
“Reform of remedies for homeowners is long overdue. A homeowner who finds defects in their home can find that they have no contract to rely on, no way of pursuing those responsible, and that they are out of time for any claim. This Bill aims to solve some of the main problems that homeowners face when they find defects in their homes, and to impose positive duties on businesses building homes or carrying out residential building projects.”
The Bill provides for a period of six years within which to bring an action for breach of duty, with special provisions designed to ensure that homeowners have a reasonable time to act following discovery of a defect.
Conor Linehan SC, another key contributor added;
“The Bill recognises that many serious defects can manifest long after building completion. It introduces an important protection for first and subsequent owners and occupiers, balancing that with legal certainty in the timeframe for claims. It is an important new consumer protection that will give effect to a number of recommendations for legal reform in this area; and it cuts through some of the anomalies that frustrate effective legal redress.”
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