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Richard
Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 54001
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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We closed on a condo and the day we moved in found water soaked

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We closed on a condo and the day we moved in found water soaked carpeting in a large corner of the master bedroom hid my billowing drapes. We pulled up the tacked down carpet and everything was soaked, carpet strips rotted, rusty nails, mold and damaged baseboards. The water was a slow leak from a rusted scupper 3 floors up with water running down the brick.. The Association knew about the scupper but the previous owners never told them about the leak into their unit. I've had a mold inspection, Environmental consulting firm who could "see" and tell with a camera that the drywall was wet behind the walls. An engineer was out yesterday and is reporting that this has been an ongoing problem....clearing should have been disclosed! It wasn't. Our real estate lawyer will send a Demand Letter, but do I need a litigator? Do you feel my lawyer I used for the closing can do this job? He's SUCH a nice guy!! I'm worried that he can't! I also have the "minutes" from a Board meeting 2 years ago where this owner complained of water in a different area of his unit and that wasn't disclosed either.
THANK YOU!!!
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. You do have recourse here. If the attorney that helped you was a real estate lawyer, he would be able to help you write the initial demand letter, but if you need to take this to trial because the letter doesn't work, you'll need a trial lawyer (i.e., litigator) to bring the suit because typically real estate lawyers don't do trial work. The seller and HOA are obligated to disclose anything they know or should have known that a reasonable buyer would consider material in making the decision whether or not to buy the property. This clearly qualifies as something that should have been disclosed.
What you want to do is raise the stakes on them so that they know that not complying with your demands is going to cost them far more in the end than simply giving you your refund now. You should send them a certified, return receipt requested letter addressed to both the seller and the HOA detailing the history and demanding that they pay to remediate the problem in total within a short specified period of time. Inform them that if your demand is not timely complied with, you will have no choice but to file a suit against them for your damages. Be sure to specifically mention that you will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as a deceptive trade practice action, which will entitle you not only to your damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your suit.



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