Our Rural Development office requires us to sign USDA Form RD 1924-19, Builder’s Warranty, on each home at completion of the self-help projects. I tried to fight that the first year as we are technically not considered the builder—but I have been signing them because because that is what they require. I don’t feel comfortable doing this anymore. We do not have a profit margin to deal with warranty issues. We have fielded cases where window glass is broken and they want it repaired as part of the warranty, and a garage door was damaged by an extreme windstorm and was not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty criteria and the homeowner thought we should replace it as part of “our” warranty. My concern is that by signing this warranty document, it may really be legally binding us to many of these grey area issues. What do y’all think we should do?

Sincerely, Worried about warranties

Dear Over-warrantied,

Your instincts are spot on; DON’T SIGN! USDA Form 1924-19, Builder’s Warranty, states: “This warranty applies to all workmanship, materials, and installation of equipment” and “The period of warranty shall be one year from the date of initial occupancy.” This is intended for a contracted home builder; you, after all, just provide technical assistance. If you sign, it would become a problem. You would be considered the general contractor and OSHA, your insurance company, etc. would be up in arms and likely need to change the way you are categorized for Worker’s Compensation insurance and a whole host of unforeseen coverages. Try the logical approach with your Rural Development office to insist you cannot sign. If that doesn’t work, contact your technical assistance provider and they can help you through. Good luck and I hope the garage doors stand up to the next round of winter wind storms!

Keep the lid on your pen!

Sincerely, Sher

Dear Sher is a regular Self Help Builder News feature. If you have a question you would like answered or researched by Sher, please send them to asisco@rcac.org and your question may be featured in a future publication.