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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 17524
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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In my state there is a law against selling a dangerous or

Customer Question

In my state there is a law against selling a dangerous or hazardous manufactured home and a law against selling a home with an undeclared environmental hazard.
I purchased a foreclosure manufactured home which means I signed a waiver for things such as mold and other defects, but the home was described in "fair condition" and I was willing to do repairs.
Upon tearing up subfloor, we discovered that the entirety of the insulation beneath had been rat-infested, but the rats had been recently exterminated. We had to remove 10 cubic yards of rat corpses, detritus and fouled insulation, leaving no insulation behind.
We also stumbled across three potentially lethal hot, uncapped loose 120V wires.
Black mold was in the wall cavities.
All told, this required 24 days of hazmat cleanup and disposal, and removal of dangerous wiring.
Removing ceiling drywall revealed the roof trusses and sheathing had collapsed in 5 places.
As far as the environmental situation, as soon as we took ownership the county department of health demanded we repair the broken septic, baffle and alarm, costing over $1300.
The removal of the insulation alone is a $10,000 job, plus getting new insulation is another $4,000.
The real estate buyer's agent had to have known about all of this. When he learned we took off the plastic under the house to pull the nightmarish insulation he wrote in an upset fashion that we were not allowed to remove the "barge board" (it's not a board, it's a piece of plastic) and then threatened that if we "altered the house" in any fashion we'd be in violation of L&I and would never be able to sell it. I asked him how HE was able to sell it to us knowing it had been greatly altered but he never answered.
The law in my state says that if a manufactured home is permanently affixed to a foundation and released of title, it is now, for tax purposes only, taxed as a site-built house. This house had been affixed and released of title in 2000. So the buyer's agent wrote that it was under site-built tax category, (thus alluding to the idea that it did not violate the law being a manufactured home sold with dangerous conditions). He'd also hired a septic inspector pre-purchase and have given me the septic plat, but not the inspection report. It was only at purchase that the county told me the problems. So I called the inspector and asked if he'd noted these things and he said "well I do remember the baffle was gone, but [and then he sounded hesitant] I'll have to get back to you on the others" and of course I never heard from him again. The buyer's agent wrote that I'd signed a waiver insofar as the septic.
I feel that the mortgage entity which sold me the foreclosure owes me for the remediations because they violated the law. When I went to the building department for a building permit, I was told that the "site built status" law was ONLY for tax purposes, and that I needed to go through L&I for permits because it was not considered a site-built house for other purposes. And so I do not believe the buyer's agent's admonition that the house was no longer a manufactured house, absolving the real estate parties involved of culpability for having violated the law preventing the sale of a dangerous manufactured home. Also they were required by law to disclose environmental defects, and since the home is near a waterway, this is why the county moved in to require me to pay for septic remediation. They did not disclose these defects, and since he had the septic inspected the buyer's agent must have known about them. Further, rats are an environmental hazard too.
This is a very bad expensive situation that was dangerous too.
I feel they violated two laws, no matter what waivers they required I sign to purchase the house, and because of this I feel I deserve compensation.
How should I approach this? Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You need to a make a formal written demand for compensation for your remedial costs to the entity who sold the property to you. If the entity ignores you, then it is prudent to retain the services of a local Attorney who handles real estate litigation to assist you with the case.

You can use the following sites to find local Attorneys:

Lawyers.com

Justia.com

Findlaw.com

Consumeradvocates.org

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