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B. Michael Clark, Jr. shareholder with Siegfried Rivera. Courtesy Photo. B. Michael Clark Jr. shareholder with Siegfried Rivera. Courtesy Photo.

Contractual provisions prescribing arbitration as the means of dispute resolution for construction defect claims are widely used in agreements offered by residential developers for sales of their new homes, and sometimes they are incorporated in the deeds by which title is transferred. The buyers of these newly built properties may be aware of these provisions prior to closing, but are subsequent buyers of these homes also subject to the arbitration provisions of the original warranty deeds? That is the question that an appellate court has certified as one of great public importance for consideration by the Florida Supreme Court.

In Hayslip v. U.S. Home, the Hayslips appealed a nonfinal order granting U.S. Home Corp.’s motion to stay their claim and compel arbitration pursuant to the terms of the original special warranty deed for the property. As subsequent buyers of the home from the original owners, the Hayslips asserted they were not bound by the arbitration provision because it is not a covenant running with the land but rather a personal covenant binding only to the original purchasers.

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