Homebuilders in Illinois' are breathing a sigh of relief after a recent court ruling limited their potential liability for building defects.

Illinois' Supreme Court ruled recently that a homeowner had no right to sue the builder under the state's implied 14-year warranty after a retaining wall collapsed. The previous homeowner had agreed to different warranty terms and the court said those applied.

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Bill Ward, executive vice president of the Homebuilders Association of Illinois, said the ruling gives homebuilders more certainty about their costs. "If the ruling went the other way, (homebuilders) wouldn't have been able to define their liability," Ward said. "This is a big win for the home building industry. This is the first time we've seen the Supreme Court take issue on behalf of the builders."

Ward said his organization would have had to look to Springfield for help if the court had ruled for the homeowner. "If they would have decided the other way, then there probably would have been something done legislatively."

Illinois' building regulations and property taxes are still the biggest driver of home costs, Ward said.

(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com)