Ramonita Mal…, Renter in Union City, NJ

we recently purchased a home in elizabeth and 2 weeks after moving in discovered a problem with the sewer and

Asked by Ramonita Maldonado, Union City, NJ Mon Jul 20, 2009

plumbing can i file suit against my home inspector and previous homeowners/

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William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Mon Jul 20, 2009

All resales are done on the basis of as-is sale. After closing, you own the property and its condition. That means you’ve got to fix the problem yourself.

If you can prove that there was actual fraud in the deal on the part of the seller or his agents or if you can prove that the inspector you hired (if you did) was negligent, you might have a case. You might also have a large legal bill that will exceed the cost of repairs.

If you did a diligent job of figuring out what you were buying and now find yourself behind the eight ball, I'm afraid that the most likely best response is one of live and learn. As far a sewerage systems go, even if you did purchase or have been given a home warranty policy, I suspect that they will only cover the piping within the walls of the house. I had a client with a broken sewer line in the lawn and it was not covered by the warranty. The seller had had "problems" with the system but it was not until a new family, with a ton more of laundry, started using the system that suds were found that covered the lawn!

Best of luck with this one.
2 votes
John Sacktig, Agent, New Jersey, NJ
Mon Jul 20, 2009
Contact your attorney and discuss.

In my opinion, no. But I don't know what is on your inspection report and how it is written to cover the inspector. NO home inspector is going to see everything.. and some just come in and make up a bunch of stuff (DICO) Just to look good, like they are earning thier $750. home inspection. Maybe nothing was wrong when the inspection was done and it happened after the fact and no one knew unitl yesterday.. who is at fault?

Deal with the problem and call your attorney.
2 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Jul 20, 2009
You need to have a real estate attorney review all documents you have signed from inspection, closing.

Have your buyers agent review all documents you have signed.

After you purchase a home if something is defective demands on issues at hand, if seller even knew. Most inspection reports have disclaimer on each section of home in report you signed. If plumbing worked passed on inspection passing then how would inspection know unless they "dug up dirt" looked all pipes.

Sorry to hear about this

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1 vote
Jose Nunes, Agent, Elizabeth, NJ
Tue Nov 15, 2011
Did you have a home inspection done ?
If so, did it make any issues of the plumbing ?

Another idea is, did you have any sheetrock work done in the house after closing ?
If so, I have seen spackle being found in the sewer after work like that is done, causing problems.

Contact me if you have further questions or need help.
Web Reference:  http://www.yournjhouse.com
0 votes
Al Perry, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Jul 21, 2009
Rominita - Sorry to read about your troubles. Keep in mind that real estate agents are not attorneys and may not be qualified to provide legal advice. Seeing that you are from New jersey I have attached a legal resource from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation where you may find FREE legal resources.

In my experience as a REALTOR, here are a few action steps that I would suggest. Please keep keep in mind that you have the right to consult with an attorney before doing so.

1. Check the "Seller's Disclosure" document that was likely presented to you when submitting an offer to determine if this was an issue that the seller previously disclosed. Most States require that sellers of residential housing disclose defects. Keep in mind that the Seller may not be aware of a defect even if one exists.

2. Get three qualified estimates in writing outlining the scope of the repair and related cost. Having this knowledge in advance will likely be helpful when attempting to negotiate a repair with the seller or home inspector.

3. Look at your home inspection report. Usually in the front or back of the report there is a contractual agreement between you and the inspector that may outline inspection limitations and potential legal remedy limits.

4. Check to see if your sales contract with the seller included a Mediation or Dispute Resolution Contingency. Many REALTOR standard forms have such contingencies to assist consumers. If such a contingency exists there should be instructions on starting the process attached as well.

5. If you utilized the services of a REALTOR or real estate sales agent, see if the agent or their supervising broker has any suggestions.

6. Assuming that you feel that the home inspector and/or seller knew or should have been able to identify and disclose the condition, request that one or both remedy the situation. If one or both agree to your satisfaction you are home free.

7. If you are not satisfied with the remedy offered, if any, contact an attorney.

Good luck with the situation. Hopefully, you can enjoy your new home soon.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Tue Jul 21, 2009
The only real reason you would have for damages is if there was something that the previous owner knew about but failed to tell you. That is called "failure to disclose a material fact". That means that if you HAD known about the problem, you might not have bought the house.

Home inspections generally are confined to the home, not the utilities that are outside the home. I remember we bought our home and within a month we had to have the drain snaked out all the way to the street. Not something that the inspector could have known about.

If you have a home warranty and the problem is "in" the house, talk with them.
0 votes
Yelena Tsula…, Agent, Boonton, NJ
Mon Jul 20, 2009
Hello, Ramonita!
Sorry to hear about this problem.
Before starting anything against seller or inspector check if you ...
1. what the seller's disclosure said about sewer system and plumbing, if there was a sellers disclosure.
2.if the inspector who perform an inspection has an insurance.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Mon Jul 20, 2009
Our recommendation is to initially try to appeal to the sellers good will through your agent. Hopefully this will recieve some sort of positive action.

If this doesn't work you may want to consider exploring other options.

Good luck
0 votes
Jeremy S. Hi…, , Cherry Hill, NJ
Mon Jul 20, 2009
Whether you can file suit or not is a legal matter that needs to be addressed by an attorney. What's the problem with the sewer and plumbing? Have the problem been fixed and you know what's the original? Don't be quick to pass judgement before knowing all the facts. Did you get a home warranty? I hope it all works out well for you.
0 votes
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