Home Buying in 80228>Question Details

Mozymat45, Home Buyer in Denver, CO

Legal rights. Inspection done but structural or access issue missed

Asked by Mozymat45, Denver, CO Fri Sep 6, 2013

I recently purchased a home which is sitting on a hill. The backyard of the home has a privacy fence on all sides. I had the home inspected prior to sale. Since moving in I was told by a neighbor that the property below the fence line in the backyard belonged to me. It was not inspected. The fence is sitting on top of a retaining wall that is 6 feet high. The access down to that property is done by going next door and down through the neighbors fence...or removing my fence and jumping down 6 feet. The real issues is that when I went down to the property below that belongs to me I discovered that the 6 foot retaining wall is failing...ready to collapse. If it does collapse it will take down the backyard, deck, and potentially cause damage to the house as well. In addition it will come down onto the property of the neighbor below me. I have had a structural engineer and bids. The wall is at such a point of failure it can only be replaced. The bids exceed $40k. What is my legal rights?

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Before you start the process, check with the title company and a surveyor to make sure that this is really your property. I wouldn't just take the word of a neighbor. You will ultimately need to get advice and representation by a real estate attorney. Best of success.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
Direct - 303-669-1246
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 7, 2013
Before hiring an attorney I would confirm via a survey that in fact that land is yours. Sounds as if you're just taking the neighbor's word. At least go to the county and check the recorded plat map. Unless your home inspector is a PE, most of them only inspect the improvements; that is, the dwelling.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 7, 2013
Also, it sounds like the only person you could go after is the seller - possibly for non-disclosure. Inspectors have you sign a bunch or stuff saying they aren't liable. Real estate agents can't be held liable for knowledge of repairs like this that they are not experts in - although they are insured.

You won't get anywhere without a lawyer - nobody will take you seriously.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 7, 2013

I have been in a similar situation and used Darrell Damschen as my attorney. His website is http://www.madlawfirm.com

I had to file a lawsuit over an issue that was similar to this and used Darrell after interviewing five lawyers. He is easy to work with and fair with billing. He'll tell you right up front if he can help you or not.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 7, 2013
Joetta is correct! Contact a Lawyer
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 6, 2013
I'm sure everyone will tell you the same thing - talk to an attorney!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 6, 2013
Thank you for your reply. I am having trouble finding the exact attorney to contact. As expected they all expect a retainer to even look at the case. I am finding that most lawyers specialized in representing the real estate agent and not the buyer. Who would be at fault here. The inspector? The listing agent? The seller? There were obvious signs there was slipping going on in the backyard (due to the deck posts), but the inspector did not look further into it. The listing agent or seller did not disclose that the property below the fence line was part of the plot and because a plot plan was never seen or requested myself, my agent or the inspector no one considered the space below.knew to look any further. I have no funds to pay for legal representation or repair this wall. Any further advice greatly appreciated!
Flag Fri Sep 6, 2013
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