Upon completion of a new home, the builder must get it inspected by local authorities and get a certificate of occupancy. The purpose of this is to show that the home is built up to code and is fit for living. Nevertheless, even with a certificate of occupancy, the home may not be perfectly built and may not be habitable. In such a case, the buyer may seek liability from the builder.
Some construction defects require time, or a temperature change, to surface. In those cases, you would need to review your handbook of warranties to determine whether they are covered and how to enforce them. The warranty period may range from one year to twenty years, depending on the item in question. These warranties may be for windows, roofing, and even washers and dryers.
However, these warranties may not cover everything. Generally, they do not cover normal wear and tear, acts of God, and any damage you have caused.
Just because a builder gave you a warranty, it does not mean that the builder will honor it. Prior to taking any legal actions, you must give the builder notice of the defects and allow reasonable time for the builder to fix them.
Furthermore, if you cannot locate your builder, you should contact a lawyer to help you track him down.
Even if you bought your new property "as is," the property comes with implied warranties. In essence, the implied warranties guarantees that your property is fit for living, and that there are adequate power, sewage, and water supplies.
A real estate lawyer is knowledgeable of construction defects and the remedies that are available. He can assist you in your claims process and even help you file suit against a builder who has fled town.