The Senate voted 17-3 Friday for builder-backed legislation redefining home defects and requiring Nevada homeowners to file notice and wait several months before suing over leaky roofs or cracked walls.
SB241, now headed to the Assembly, was sought by builders and contractors who said it would reduce the number of home defects lawsuits and eventually lower their construction liability insurance rates.
The bill would require homeowners with crooked doors and windows or other problems to issue a formal complaint to a builder. The homeowner could only file a lawsuit if the builder didn't fix the problem within five months or didn't respond to the complaint within three months.
The definition of construction defects also would be modified. It would block claims against contractors for "normal" wear and tear, settling or other deterioration.
Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus and two other southern Nevada Democrats voted against the legislation. Titus said she hoped for some compromise bill to emerge from amendments in the Democrat-controlled Assembly.
Similar legislation has died in past sessions. Three Assembly home defect measures died in committee last week but elements of those could be inserted into SB241.
Two opposing groups of homeowners have argued for and against the Senate legislation. Both sides wear yellow T-shirts with black lettering.
"Safe Homes Nevada" activists shared tales of "nightmare" construction problems in the booming Las Vegas housing market.
Other homeowners in the "Coalition for Fairness in Construction" said the bill would help halt pushy southern Nevada lawyers who force homeowner associations into defect litigation.
Another home defect bill from Sen. Mike Schneider, R-Las Vegas, is set to go before the full Senate next week. It would require builders or contractors to be notified before a defect inspection by a homeowners association.