We bought a home in 3/12. We had a home inspection that found nominal issues. In May when trying to run the hvac unit we found out it doesnt work and has several installation issues. We pushed the selling real estate agent to find out who installed the system as it was brand new but we never got paperwork on it. He found out from the seller who installed it. The installer was not licensed. The homeowner (a house flipper) did not pull permits to install the system even thought there was no previous existing system. Therefore an incorrectly sized and improperly installed system is in the house with no warranty on it. I have been going after the installer to pay for a new one, however, I want to know what liability if any the homeowner had for selling under these conditions. It has been stated by the installer that he knowingly did not put in the correct insulation, and didnt follow code because the owner told him to "do the cheapest job".Who is really liable and what can I do to recoup the money I have spent to date (both in numerous tech visits and electric bills to run window units) and to pay for replacing my system?I am in fairfax, va
State/Country relating to question: Virginia
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Good morning. A buyer would absolutely have a claim against the seller in this situation. The seller is obligated to disclose anything the seller knows orshould have known that a reasonable buyer would consider material in making thedecision whether or not to buy the property. This clearly qualifies assomething that should have been disclosed. A buyer in thisposition would want to send them a certified, return receipt requested letterdetailing the problem and demanding that the seller pay for the remediation ofthe problem and all of buyer's damages resulting therefrom within a short specified period of time;and inform them that if such demand is not timely complied with, there will beno choice but to file a suit against them for damages. The letter would want tomake sure to specifically mention that this claim will be filed not only as abreach of contract case, but also as a deceptive trade practice action, whichwill entitle one to not only to actual damages, but also an additional amountequal to 3 times that as punitive damages. That should provide plenty ofincentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, a suit should befiled.
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Thanks for allowing meto be of service to you. Please be aware that the information provided here isnot legal advice. Rather it is simply general information. All states have intricacies in their lawsand any information given is simply information only and specifically is notintended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication doesnot establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.
Texas lawyer for 32 years; Also RE developer
would he be compelled to disclose because he knew a non-licensed hvac tech installed the system and there would be no Warranty? OR because he should have known the system was installed incorrectly?
These reasons combined. The fact that he used a non-licensed tech is going to impute knowledge that it would likely be installed incorrectly.
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