Home Selling in Los Angeles>Question Details

jkdoan, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

I just buy a house and I found out there is a leak in the bathroom so the bedroom next to it has mold.

Asked by jkdoan, Los Angeles, CA Tue Oct 9, 2012

I just bought a house and before I moved it, I found out there was a leak in the bathroom so the bedroom next to it had mold. The leak could only be seen after the carpet was removed. A bed was in place of the leak so maybe that's why it was not detected during inspection. Home warranty covered the leak but I had to pay for mold and termite (found out after open the wall). Is the seller responsible for the cost of mold and termite removal?

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JKdoan,

If you had a termite inspetion prior to closing escrow, they would have determined if there was was active termite activity and if there was termite damage. This would have been reported to you in the tremite report, and seller would have had to have repairs done.

As far the leak in thebathroom, if it as bad as you state , there should have been some evidence of a leak even without removing the carpet. The pipes may have evidence of a leak as well as the floor of the cabinet that houses the pipes. Bubbles or cracks on the floor of the cabinets is a tell tell sign of leaks.

Are you sure you read the property inspection report . If the leak in the bathroom as spread to cause mold in the bedroom, there should have been signs of this on the base boards and base of the walls.

You also should have done a final walk through of the home prior to closing, at this point the home would have most likely been vacant, and you should have been able to take a REAL close look at every room in the house, the bed at this point should have not been present and the damage would have been visible.

Buyers have to be very diligent with inspections and repair request prior to closing escrow. Once escrow closes and issues come up it becomes a grey area as to whether or not buyer can go after seller for the cost of repairs, unless the seller clearly misrepresented a material fact about the home.

Best of luck to you.
Kawain Payne, REaltor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 28, 2012
Dear Jkodan,
A home inspection would not go "inside walls" nor can they "remove carpets" to discover this problem. I am assuming there was no odor to alert anyone of the problem either?
It's good that you had a home warranty to cover some things.
The termite inspection should have detected termites and taken care of them. It sounds like you did not get a termite inspection on the property, so it falls to you to take care of it now.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 13, 2012
This is what is called a latent defect. This means that is was only discoverable after some kind of demolition or removal of materials. The only way this could have been discovered would have been through what is called "destructive" testing. This is also something that could reasonably be inferred to have been unknown to the Seller. Therefore, the Seller is not responsible.
The only way the Seller is responsible is if you can somehow prove that he knew about it and that he knowingly concealed it from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
Your inspection did not involve tearing up carpet and opening walls. Your own statement says that it was not known until these were removed. This situation could have been several years in the making. It is an unfortunate discovery, but not the seller's responsibility, unless you can prove their knowledge beforehand.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
I have to chime in with the others on this thread. Proving that a homeowner knew about a leak is like pulling hens teeth. You may have to call upon your home insurance if the damages are excessive. However, that stated mold related claims are very difficult to collect on.

I'd get a local contractor that specializes in insurance claims to work with you or just forget about it and do the necessary repairs and get on with enjoying your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
As everyone mentioned here earlier: if your home inspector did not discover it it is possible the seller did not know about it. Uunless it can be proved that the seller knew, then you are responsible for all costs.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
The seller would only be responsible for the cost if, you can prove he knew about it and didn't disclose his knowledge of it. There should have been a Pest inspection done during your 17 day inspection period and a home inspection both done by licensed professionals. In order to close escrow you would need a clear pest inspection. I would be contacting that company to see if they noted it in their report or ask why they missed it. Also, if you look on your water heater or wall next to water heater there should be a sticker showing what company did the last inspection and the date. You can call to get a copy of the report. I hope this helps.


Allison Rinauro
RE/MAX Showcase
13423 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818)284-3263
arinauro@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
As Janey mentions, if your home inspector did not discover it it is possible the seller did not know about it. That is unfortunate, but unless it can be proved that the seller knew, then you are going to have to make the repairs.
Web Reference: http://www.homejane.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
If it wasn't detectable during inspection it is very possible the Seller didn't know about it either. The danger of leaks is that water travels in unusual directions and can often be undetected. The damage may indicate it has been there a while but it would be hard to establish when it started. Seller is responsible for disclosing everything they fixed or thought to fix but if he/she didn't know they couldn't have told you.

I think you are going to have to cover the cost of the repair.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
They would only be responsible if you could prove the seller knew about the defects, and purposely tried to hide them from you.
I know it sounds hard, but if they gave you the time to inspect the property, and the seller did not know about the problem, then the cost to repair is on the buyer.

Talk to your agent, and see if they can guide you in this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 9, 2012
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