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How the increased cost of Canadian lumber affects Floridians

It might not seem like lumber production would be a hot-button issue for average citizens in the U.S. However, this very issue made headlines after the Trump administration recently approved the collection of tariffs on lumber coming into the U.S. from Canada. The result is that Canadian softwood lumber, which makes up about 30 percent of residential construction lumber, will be more expensive.

You may be wondering, "How does this political move affect individual homeowners right here in Florida?" In short, it means that the cost and availability of construction materials is changing, and that can lead to legally complex issues including construction liens and defective materials.

If a product used in the construction of a home becomes significantly more expensive, the homeowner may not be able or want to pay the added costs. If he or she does not pay the contractor, subcontractor or supplier, that party can file a construction lien, or a claim against that property.

Remember, though, that even when a homeowner pays a contractor properly for supplies lumber, a claim can still be filed against the home. This happens if the contractor fails pass the payment along properly to the supplier or other appropriate parties.

Another issue that could arise in light of changes to product cost or availability is substitution for defective materials. There are different categories and grades of lumber, and not every type is suitable for every project. Should a contractor or supplier substitute a substandard or inappropriate type of lumber for flooring, framing or wall coverings, that party can be held accountable for any damages caused by a defective product.

If you find yourself dealing with these or similar construction-related issues, then you would be wise to consult an attorney with a thorough understanding of construction law. Whether you are a contractor, supplier or homeowner, there is a lot that could be on the line, so taking your legal options and rights seriously is crucial.

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