SB 800 is a California law also known as the “Right to Repair” law.
What is SB 800?
SB 800 is a California law that addresses new construction defect litigation and establishes warranties on new
construction. In brief, the bill sets standards for new construction, allows builders the right to repair defects as a
means of avoiding litigation, requires buyers to follow maintenance guidelines, and provides builders with certain legal
defenses. The bill requires the builder to provide information to the buyer along with the contract and to let the buyer
know whether or not the builder will be adopting the SB 800 provisions.
What properties are covered by SB 800?
SB 800 is applicable to all newly-constructed residential property intended to be sold as an individual dwelling unit,
where the purchase agreement was signed by the seller on or after January 1, 2003. This includes single family
homes and condominiums. However, it does not apply to condominium conversions.
SB 800 applies not only to the original purchaser, but also to subsequent purchasers. To that end, SB 800 requires
that the builder instruct the original purchaser to give to the subsequent purchaser all the documents that were
provided to the original owner in conjunction with the original sale.
A builder may opt out of the pre-litigation procedures, but this must be stated in the purchase contract. The provisions
of SB 800 relating to the statue of limitations may still apply.
A builder may also provide “an enhanced protection agreement,” which might offer the same or greater protection to a
Who is a builder under SB 800?
The law applies to all builders of new residential properties. “Builder” under SB 800 includes “any entity or individual
including, but not limited to a builder, developer, general contractor, contractor, or original seller, who at the time of
sale, was also in the business of selling residential units to the public.” The law also applies to all “general contractors,
subcontractors, material suppliers, individual product manufacturers, and design professionals” to the extent these
parties caused a violation of the SB 800 standards as a result of a “negligent act or omission or breach of contract.”
What building standards are established by SB 800?
The new law defines construction defects according to standards of how a home and its components should function.
The “functionality standards” fall under seven categories including: water intrusion, structural, soils, fire protection,
plumbing and sewer, and electrical. There is also a “catch-all” category that protects “to the extent a function or
component is not addressed by these standards, it shall be actionable if it causes damage.”
What are the statutes of limitations under the new law?
There are varying statutes of limitations under SB 800.
10 years from close of escrow: Construction defects.
5 years from close of escrow: Paint and stains shall be applied in such a manner so as to not cause deterioration of
the building surfaces for the length of time specified by the paint or stain manufacturers’ representations.
4 years from close of escrow: Plumbing and sewer systems must operate properly and not materially impair the use
of the structure by their inhabitants; electrical systems shall operate properly so as to not materially impair the use of
the structure by its inhabitants (except unreasonable risk of fire is 10 years); exterior pathways, driveways, hardscape,
sidewalls, sidewalks, and patio shall not contain cracks that are excessive or that display significant vertical
displacement; untreated steel fences and adjacent components shall be installed so as to prevent unreasonable
2 years from close of escrow: Untreated wood posts shall not be installed in contact with soil such as to cause
unreasonable decay to the wood based upon the finish grade at the time of construction; landscaping systems shall be
installed so as to survive for at least one year; dryer ducts shall be installed and terminated pursuant to manufacturer
1 year from close of escrow: Manufactured products, including but not limited to windows, doors, roofs, plumbing
products, and fixtures, fireplaces, electrical fixtures, HVAC units, countertops, cabinets, paint, and appliances shall be
installed so as to not interfere with products’ useful life; noise from attached units in violation of applicable
“interunit noise transmission standards set by government building codes, ordinances or regulation in effect a the time
of original construction”; irrigation and drainage systems must function properly so as to not damage landscaping or
other external improvements; Fit and Finish Warranty covering cabinets, mirrors, flooring, interior and exterior walls,
countertops, paint finishes, and trim.
How can a homeowner bring a claim against a builder?
The law provides a detailed pre-litigation procedure which must be followed before a homeowner can file suit against a
builder for a construction defect. These procedures impact the legal rights of a homeowner.
If the homeowner does not follow the procedure set out in SB 800, then there are limits to the damages homeowner
If the builder fails to follow the procedures outlined in SB 800, then a homeowner may file a lawsuit against the builder.
What are the obligations of the homeowner?
The homeowner must mitigate, minimize or prevent damages in a timely manner. This includes notifying the builder of
a problem and allowing the builder “reasonable and timely access for inspection and repairs.”
The homeowner must follow the maintenance obligations provided to them in writing by the builder.
What is the documentation related to SB 800?
The builder must provide buyers at the time of sale:
• Copies of all builder maintenance and preventative maintenance recommendations and specifications;
• Copies of all manufactured products maintenance, preventative maintenance and limited warranty information;
• Builder’s express, limited warranty;
• Copy of the Fit and Finish Warranty;
• Copies of the builder’s limited contractual warranties;
• Name and address of the builder’s agent to receive notices of claims;
• A written copy of the law which must be initialed and acknowledged by the purchaser;
• If the builder has an enhanced protection agreement, the builder must inform the homebuyer prior to the close of escrow that he or she is opting out of the SB 800 and provide a copy of the SB 800 standards;
• A notice signed by the seller and recorded on title regarding the existence of these pre-litigation procedures and a notice that these procedures impact the legal rights of the homeowner; and,
• Written instructions to the homebuyer that all documents provided at the time of sale must be provided to a
Important Disclaimer: The above is a summary of SB-800, and is not intended to be legal advice but general consumer information. If you have a specific question about SB 800, or are looking for information about how it applies to your particular situation, please consult with a qualified professional and don’t just rely on a blog post you found on the internet.