The Louisiana New Home Warranty Act provides the exclusive remedies, warranties, and prescriptive periods (statute of limitations) as between builder and owner related to home construction. The Act’s minimum required warranties are mandatory, and cannot be waived by the owner or reduced by the builder. Homeowners cannot avoid the exclusivity by crafting recovery claims through other theories. Consequently, the New Home Warranty Act provides the exclusive remedy, but permits the builder to contractually assume greater obligations or warranties than those set forth in the Act.
For example, “punch list” items are considered minor and consequential under the New Home Warranty Act, and cannot constitute “major structural defects” within the Act’s meaning. A Louisiana appellate court rejected a homeowner’s claim that the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act only protects builders, concluding that the Act’s coverage extends to the builder’s insurers. In Barnett v. Watkins, WL 2713329 (La. App. 1st Cir. 9/19/07), the court concluded that “by extension, the NHWA [New Home Warranty Act] is also plaintiff’s exclusive remedy against . . . the liability insurer of [the builder].”