Is seller responsible for costs associated with septic problems? septic is not to code and not disclosed.

Asked by Wpetersen7, Spanish Fort, AL Mon May 9, 2011

we just bought a house last month. it was rented before us. we recently discovered that the septic to the new additon was not done legally and the information was not disclosed. basically, the shower, sink, toilet, and clothes washing machine all run into the same line outside, causing backup in the tub or toilet. I am sure the previous renters must have known, but they are friends of the seller. we don't know how much information we'll get from them.

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Gerard Carney, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Mon May 9, 2011
Get a Real Estate Attorney and go after the Seller and the Broker that sold you the House. As far as the Septic to the new addition being Illegal, not having been permitted or inspected by the county, then there was knowledge of items wrong by the owner and intent not to disclose which means they vialted the sale. You can go after them and sue them to correct wha is wrong. Do not wait!
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Robin Roberts, Agent, Orange Beach, AL
Mon May 9, 2011
Alabama is a caveat emptor state which means "Let the buyer beware". The only recourse you would have is that you had a septic inspection prior to close and had asked for the seller to repair it in the contract. If you did not have an inspection and/or your agent did not advise you to have an inspection there will be no recourse on your end. I wish I had better news, but if you opted out of the inspection it will fall on the buyer.
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Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Mon May 9, 2011
What did it say on the property disclosure which is required by law? Some states make you answer Yes or No to the questions and some states have a place that means Find Out Yourself. Did they answer no to knowing of any problems? If so and you can prove it, then you might have something. You are on a slippery legal issue and you probably will need to let a lawyer review everything with the sale. Do you have something that says the septic is not legal and never has been approved or permitted and inspected? Did you have a septic inspection before the sale?
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Karen Parsons…, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Mon May 9, 2011
Hi WPetersen7,

Disclosures are from the sellers....and they are to disclose what they are aware of. If they did the new addition, without proper permits and illegally, then clearly they had this information and should have disclosed it. If they bought the home that way, or if the renters did the addition (which is unlikely) then they might not have actually known and therefore don't need to disclose.

Talk to your agent, every state has different laws, you should get some guidance there...but if they violated the disclosure laws then they are liable.

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