Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Subsequent Homeowners Are Not Entitled to Implied Warranty of Habitability
By Christopher A. Barbarisi and Loly G. Tor, K&L Gates, Newark
In Conway v. Cutler Group Inc., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Superior Court and held that the builders’ implied warranty of habitability does not run to subsequent purchasers of homes, significantly limiting homebuilders’ potential liability to subsequent owners.
In Conway, the homeowners, Michael and Deborah Conway, purchased a three-year-old home from the original owners, who had purchased the home new from the builder. After allegedly discovering water infiltration and construction defects in the home, the Conways filed suit against the builder for breach of the homebuilders’ implied warranty of habitability. The trial court dismissed the Conways’ complaint, finding that the Conways’ claim for breach of the implied warranty was barred due to lack of privity. On appeal, the Superior Court reversed, finding that the implied warranty of habitability should exist independently of a contract between the builder and homeowner because the warranty is based on public policy considerations, is designed to “equalize the disparate positions” of the builder and homeowner, and exists independently of any builder representations.
 288 A.2d 771 (Pa. 1972).
 J-41-2014 at *4 (quoting Elderkin, 288 A.2d at 777).