Home Selling in San Jose>Question Details

Deb, Home Owner in San Jose, CA

Am I responsible for a pool leak?

Asked by Deb, San Jose, CA Mon Mar 14, 2011

I sold a property to a buyer "as is" with $000.00 credit in lieu of repairs. The buyers had a property inspections done and I even bought a home warranty with pool coverage. I didn't know of any leaks to the pool but the agent is stating that I should have known because the water level would have shown evaporation. The buyers even had a pool inspection done which they're saying the inspector couldn't have seen that kind of leakage.

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I would suspect that the 'pool coverage' you have through the home protection plan is probably for equipment (filter, pumps, sweep, etc.). If there was 'leak coverage' it would have been severely limited (probably $500).

Evaporation is not a leak. You will only know if you have a true leak by having a leak detection company inspect the pool. They should actually be able to find the exact location of the leak as well.

A pool inspector is not going to know unless he runs the equipment and sees something leaking.

If the buyer had the opportunity to do all the inspections they wanted and you were truthful about your disclosures, there is not much more to talk about. Just to be safe; you might want to review everything once again with your agent regarding the pool and consult with a sharp real estate attorney (as already suggested here). Pools are not as easy to understand as people think. Then again; if your water bill was $200+ a month and you were constantly filling the pool . . .

Mark Burns, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Elite - Top 1% Worldwide
DRE #00896552 Licensed since 1985
Over 600 Homes Sold in Silicon Valley
Web Reference: http://www.markburns.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Hi Deo:

Your pool must have dried up since 2011.

What happened ?

Perry
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2014
Pool leaks can be hard to detect sometimes. Our pool had a leak in it for a while without us knowing about it. It's hard to tell who is at fault. If you really didn't know there was a leak then you shouldn't have to pay, especially since they did all the inspections they wanted to do. If you had a hunch that there might have been a leak then things might be different, though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 6, 2014
Pool loses may be 1.5" in the summer due to evaporation. Many home owners use a cover to minimize the water loss. It is expensive to maintain. For the same reason it is not popular anymore.

If it is vinyl it is easy to identify.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 3, 2014
Deb, I'm curious, did this successfully get resolved? Please let us know. Thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Has the home closed? If not and you're still in negotiations, then it needs to be addressed in some way. If the home has closed you should only be speaking with your own agent and any RE attorney as required. Have you or your agent contacted the CAR Legal Hotline? That may be a good first step. In general, you can only be held liable for what you know, or could reasonably have known, before you sold. CAR Legal Hotline link is http://www.car.org/legal/legal-hotline-access/, they are open 9a-6p PST M-F and 10a-2p on Sat.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 17, 2011
Are you being sued? Your best bet might be to speak to a RE lawyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 17, 2011
Which agent is talking to you? You should only be talking to your agent. Did the buyers request the property be repaired after they received the pool report? Did they ask in writing? Did they go through with the purchase? If the buyer bought the house, especially after having done the pool inspection, that they ordered and paid for, you are off the hook. I would not be talking to either the buyer or the buyer's agent. I would say nothing and wait to see if they try and sue you in small claims court. If they do sue you, ask your agent to help prepare your case. If your agent doesn't want anything to do with it, then contact me and I will help you put your evidence together for your small claims dispute.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 17, 2011
You've received a lot of good answers but I wanted to get some clarification. When you say the "agent" is stating that you should have known are you referring to your agent or the buyer's agent? If it's the buyer's agent than that's a conversation between the two agents. If it's your agent is stating this, that's why she/he has E&O (errors and omissions in contracts) insurance. Since the property is sold there's nothing you can do unless the buyer is pursuing you and your agent for legal action.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 15, 2011
Pool water levels naturally evaporate a few inches a week. Assuming you aren't a pool maintenance expert and you say you didn't know the leak existed you shouldn't have any cause for concern. Even more assuring, if the pool inspector couldn't even see it then how could they expect you to know about it?

It's unfortunate, but inspectors CAN'T see everything and often don't, but inspections are still very useful. Things like this happen and this is why hiring an agent is a MASSIVE help - all the disclosure documentation, purchase contracts, and agent guidance helps protect you in situations like this.
Web Reference: http://www.agentleaf.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 15, 2011
You cannot be held liable for things you didn't know. If the envelope gets pushed ask your broker for his E&O ins. info.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Hi Deb,

Sorry to hear of your problem. If you bought pool coverage with the home warranty has homeowners with pool normally do then send them to the warranty company. The fact is you disclosed and they inspected. If anything they should sue the inspector for not doing a good job. If a trained inspector "couldn't have seen" it... how could you? But again as stated by few of my colleagues, "we are not real estate lawyers and can't consult on legal matters."

Good Luck,
Thuan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Deb -

You can only disclose what you know. If you truly did not know or suspect, you could not disclose. Doesn't sound like they did an actual pool inspection? I agree with others, that it is best to consult with an attorney.

CJ
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Hi Deb, in my opinion, sellers can't disclose what they don't know and my sellers are not expected to disclose things they "should have" known, but rather things they do know as a material fact that would affect the pricing and/or desirability of a property. CA law requires that sellers provide buyers a completed California form TDS-Transfer Disclosure Statement or other similar document. However, without the details of your transaction, you should be seeking the advice of the Realtor who represented your sale (the one who put the sign in your yard). It is prudent that your agent had the buyers sign off on a variety of documents (TDS, as-is addendum, inspections, receipt for reports etc.) in order to protect you. Your agent is the best person to help you or you should seek the advice of an real estate attorney if you think you might be liable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Hi Deb,

This may have become a situation with people trying to put the responsibility of the issue on to 'someone'. To protect yourself I suggest that you seek a real estate attorney as soon as possible and not try to work this out yourself. Most Home Warranty Plans do NOT cover pool leaks, they mostly cover equipment. If you need a recomendation for an attorney your agent should know of one or feel free to call me, 408-656-6096 or email me at: Irene@Irene-Claudia.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Hello Deb,

This is a tough one. Obviously, the agent does not have a good command of English language. Water loss because of evaporation should not be considered a leak in the pool. However, depending on the age of your pool and condition, there is always a possibility that there is a water leak.

Which agent is making this statement? Your or the buyer's agent?

Most of us on this blog are Realtors & Brokers. We were not party to your transaction and are not aware of all the details about your contract as well as any potential issues with your house. We are also not attorneys or Contractors. As such, it is not possible for me to answer this question accurately. It appears that you may have done everything correctly.

You can always talk to your agent (or if your agent is making this claim, to their Broker). Also, you may want to talk to a good attorney who specializes in Real Estate. You can do so right now, or you can see if the buyer is going to push the issue. In case you decide to talk to an attorney, here is one of the best Real Estate Attorney's in Santa Clara Valley:

Ron Rossi
Rossi, Hamerslough, Reischl & Chuck
1960 The Alameda, Suite 200
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 261-4252
Fax: (408) 261-4292
Website: http://www.rhrc.net


Good Luck.
Web Reference: http://www.esjn.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Hi Deb,
I think you can hire a real estate lawyer to represent you. It would be inappropriate for us to give you an answer because we did not have all the facts.
Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
You have to disclose what you know, but if you didn't know about it you couldn't disclose it. From what you describe, you did the right things.

"Evaporation" and "leak" are two very different situations: evaporation is a natural occurence with any pool whereas a leak is a problem (maybe you mean, "...because the water level decreased").

If you were represented by an agent, tell your agent about this so that you can both document your files.

You didn't indicate if the buyer is making a claim against you. If the buyer or buyer's agent is contacting you to complain, refer them to your agent. In order to successfully make a claim against you, it is usually up to the buyer to prove you knew about it and did not disclose it. Wait to see what happens; if it progresses any further, talk to your agent and get referrals to some real estate attorneys.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Hmm, Deb. What is your agent saying. If you KNEW or SUSPECTED a pool leak, it would have been your responsibility to disclose that to any potential buyer. If you seriously did not know nor had any suspicion, they had an inspection and your gave a warranty, then rely on your agent and broker for guidance. Is the pool warranty not covering the repair?
Web Reference: http://terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
Since none of us were involved in the transaction, not sure an accurate answer can be given--it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney who specializes in real estate, he/she can best advise as it relates to your specific situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 14, 2011
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