In Oregon, residential owners traditionally have up to ten years from when their home is substantially completed to bring a claim for construction defects. Less clear is the timeline for townhomes. Traditionally defect claims involving townhomes in Oregon are brought by a homeowner’s association and on behalf of all owners within the townhome. This is because the homeowner’s association typically has the maintenance and repair responsibility for all exterior elements of the townhome. However, unlike a condominium, townhome owners actually own the lot upon which their unit sits. They likewise own all of the framing, siding, roofing material, and other exterior elements which fall within their individual lot line.
So just what is the statute of repose for a homeowners association seeking to bring a construction defect claim involving a townhome? Is it ten years from when each unit within the townhome was completed, or ten years from when the townhome project as a whole was completed? Likewise, what happens if a townhome complex consists of multiple buildings? Does the ten years run from when each building is completed, or ten years from when all buildings are completed? Washington County recently weighed in on this issue and found that the appropriate timeline is ten years from when the townhomes as a whole are completed. In other words, regardless of when each individual lot/unit or building is completed, the ten year statute of repose will not begin to run until the townhome project as a whole is substantially complete. A copy of the full decision from Washington County Court can be viewed here: Bailey Ruling