Montana Title 70. Property § 70-19-427. Residential construction disputes--notice and opportunity to repair--tolling of statute of limitations--presumption of compliance with construction standards




(1) Prior to commencing an action against a construction professional for a construction defect, the claimant shall serve written notice of claim on the construction professional. The notice of claim must state that the claimant asserts a construction defect claim against the construction professional and must describe the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of the defect. If a written notice of claim is served under this section within the time prescribed for the filing of an action under 27-2-208 , the statute of limitations for construction defect claims is tolled.

(2) Within 21 days after service of the notice of claim, the construction professional shall serve a written response on the claimant. The written response must:

(a) propose to inspect the residence that is the subject of the claim and to complete the inspection within a specified timeframe. The proposal must include the statement that the construction professional shall, based on the inspection, offer to remedy the defect, compromise by payment, or dispute the claim;

(b) offer to compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment without inspection;  or

(c) state that the construction professional disputes the claim and will neither remedy the construction defect nor compromise and settle the claim.

(3)(a) If the construction professional disputes the claim or does not respond to the claimant's notice of claim within the time stated in subsection (2), the claimant may bring an action against the construction professional for the claim described in the notice of claim without further notice.

(b) If the claimant rejects the inspection proposal or the settlement offer made by the construction professional pursuant to subsection (2), the claimant shall serve written notice of the claimant's rejection on the construction professional. After service of the notice of rejection, the claimant may bring an action against the construction professional for the construction defect claim described in the notice of claim. If the construction professional has not received from the claimant, within 30 days after the claimant's receipt of the construction professional's response, either an acceptance or rejection of the inspection proposal or settlement offer, then at any time after that date the construction professional may terminate the proposal or offer by serving written notice on the claimant. The claimant may, after service, bring an action against the construction professional for the construction defect claim described in the notice of claim.

(4)(a) If the claimant elects to allow the construction professional to inspect in accordance with the construction professional's proposal pursuant to subsection (2)(a), the claimant shall provide the construction professional and its contractors or other agents reasonable access to the claimant's residence, as agreed by the parties, to inspect the premises and the claimed defect.

(b) Within 14 days following completion of the inspection, the construction professional shall serve on the claimant:

(i) a written offer to remedy the construction defect at no cost to the claimant, including a report of the scope of the inspection, the findings and results of the inspection, a description of the additional construction necessary to remedy the defect described in the claim, and a timetable for the completion of the construction;

(ii) a written offer to compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment pursuant to subsection (2)(b);

(iii) a written offer to remedy the claim through a combination of repair and monetary payment pursuant to subsection (2)(b);  or

(iv) a written statement setting forth the reasons why the construction professional will not proceed further to remedy the alleged defect.

(c) If the construction professional does not proceed further to remedy the alleged construction defect within the agreed-upon time or if the construction professional fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (4)(b), the claimant may bring an action against the construction professional for the claim described in the notice of claim without further notice.

(d) If the claimant rejects the offer made by the construction professional pursuant to subsection (4)(b)(i) or (4)(b)(ii) to either remedy the construction defect or to compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment, the claimant shall serve written notice of the claimant's rejection on the construction professional. After service of the rejection notice, the claimant may bring an action against the construction professional for the construction defect claim described in the notice of claim. If the construction professional has not received from the claimant, within 30 days after the claimant's receipt of the construction professional's response, either an acceptance or rejection of the offer made pursuant to subsection (4)(b)(i) or (4)(b)(ii), then at any time after that date the construction professional may terminate the offer by serving written notice on the claimant.

(5)(a) Any claimant accepting the offer of a construction professional to remedy the construction defect pursuant to subsection (4)(b)(i) or (4)(b)(iii) shall do so by serving the construction professional with a written notice of acceptance within 30 days after receipt of the offer. The claimant shall provide the construction professional and its contractors or other agents reasonable access to the claimant's residence during normal working hours to perform and complete the construction according to the timetable stated in the offer.

(b) The claimant and construction professional may, by written mutual agreement, alter the extent of construction or the timetable for completion of construction stated in the offer, including but not limited to repair of additional defects.

(6) Subsequently discovered claims of construction defects must be administered separately under 70-19-428 and this section, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.

(7) This section may not be construed to prevent a claimant from commencing an action on the construction defect claim described in the notice of claim if the construction professional fails to perform the construction agreed upon, fails to remedy the defect, or fails to perform within the time agreed upon pursuant to subsection (4)(b) or (5)(b).

(8) This section may not be enforced unless the home owner has been given written notice of the requirements of 70-19-426 , 70-19-428 , and this section.





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