Lemon Law Louisiana

Pharis Law Offices

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A special case: Mobile Homes in Louisiana.

Mobile home defects complaints must be handled a little differently than a lemon law claim in Louisiana. The Louisiana Legislature passed a law in 2012 called "NEW MANUFACTURED AND MODULAR HOME WARRANTY ACT".  This is truly special interest legislation at its worst.  For the first time in Louisiana law, manufactured homes are not considered products in the sense of redhibition or lemon law.  Instead, an administrative system is put in place that is hard for the State of Louisiana to administer, and is, presently, almost impossible to get right.

There are now three levels of defects, a one-year waranty at first for almost anything, then two years only for "system" defects - plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, and ventilating systems, then five years for structural defects.  These are much-shortened considering the protection given other consumers under  redhibition or lemon law.  However, it gets worse.

Instead of just giving notice of defects to the dealer, and, directly or indirectly, to the manufacturer, you now send a certified mail letter to the Louisiana Manufactured Housing Comission "[b]efore undertaking any repair himself or instituting any action for breach of warranty".  Then, the Commission sends out an inspector.  Unfortunately, many of the inspectors are overworked, and it's difficult to get them out in time, especially if you've notced the defect toward the end of the warranty period.  Then, after the inspection, the inspector notifies the manufacturer, dealer, or mover/setup company what is supposedly their responsibility in repairing.  Then, those companies are given reasonable attempts to repair.  Seems fair, right?  Actually, it puts another layer of administrative drag on the process. The inspectors are good people with a tough job,  After repairs, they are supposed to come out again and re-inspect to determine if the repairs have been made.  Then, you may file suit.  

The Act as written is poorly drafted, attempts to follow the New Home Warranty Act , a terribly drawn piece of leglislation in and of itself,and really cuts off consumers rights. This law was passed the OUT OF STATE manufacturers appeared before the Louisiana leglislature to stack the deck in their favor.   Combine this with mandatory arbitration clauses and the whole idea was to try to discourage consumers and their attorneys from the ability to obtain justice.  Further, the manufactured housing industry has in conjuntion with this made their warranties much more limited, at least in one case I've seen, and the consumer does not have nearly protection he did have.  If I were the dealer, I would be screaming about the fact that the companies, whose product I sell, are offering less warranty protection for my customers, which may very well have an impact on sales and the reputation of the industry.

You may have other remedies.  Some courts, in response to the New Home Warranty Act's restrictions have ruled that, despite the "exclusive" language in that Act (thus, in the very similar Manufactured Housing Act), if the Act excludes some items you'd normally think would be covered (and there's a long list), then other laws of general warranty apply.   Sometimes, the problems may be caused by stress on delivery, and therefore may be subject to an insurance claim with the insurer of the delivery company.  Thus, you may be able to make a claim in that fashion, if that's the fact. However, this is sometimes difficult to prove.

Always remember to use your resources, in this case, the fire marshal's inspection, documentation of repairs, and letters of complaint.

When you hire a lawyer.

It is extremely important that an attorney advise you on the applicability of the law and what to do after the notices and if the problems aren't repaired - call that lawyer!  Get the advice now before your multi-year investment gets beyond the law's help.

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