Construction Litigation Spikes in Brooklyn

Real estate development in Brooklyn has not been without its setbacks. Due to extraordinarily fast timelines from design to completion, Brooklyn has seen a spike in construction litigation involving structural defects in new residential buildings.

The Brooklyn housing gold rush has attracted some inexperienced developers who may not have had confidence in the boom’s sustainability. They therefore need to cash in quickly while home prices are soaring. Likewise, prospective home owners want to buy in before prices increase further and therefore don’t conduct the necessary due diligence.

Problems range from condo sponsors not filing for promised tax abatements to serious safety violations such as non-working sprinklers and fire control systems. Some buildings have improperly constructed facades and balconies that pose a danger to passerby. The most notorious example of this is 500 4th Avenue. This residential high rise was built in 2010 and in 2014, the Department of Buildings issued a partial vacate order prohibiting owners from using their balconies.

One condo building in Williamsburg on Grand Street had flooding due to improper connections between the storm drainage and sewer systems. In that case, it came to light that the construction was taken over by another company in the middle of the project. This should have been a red flag to potential buyers.

Although many home owners are turning to experienced construction lawyers such as the Wright Law Firm to litigate, it is far from an easy solution to their woes. Litigation is difficult because the condominium’s sponsors are usually limited liability companies that are dissolved once the last unit is sold. After a year or two when defects are discovered, the sponsor’s LLC is nowhere to be found. In addition, construction litigation regarding shoddy workmanship or materials affects the resale value of a unit.  If a potential buyer of a condo unit learns of pending litigation, all the units in the building may face a stigma, especially in luxury high rise buildings where potential buyers can afford to be selective.

Regardless of these difficulties, a home owner facing these issues should always consult a lawyer experienced in construction litigation to investigate their options.