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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33803
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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My house is almost 7 yrs old and my front foundation wall is

Customer Question

My house is almost 7 yrs old and my front foundation wall is bowing in. Had some contractors look at it, they it its shotty work. Probably going to cost 20k to repair. They company that put in the foundation went out of business do I have any legal recourse. Also I was going through my paperwork from when I had house built, our house failed it's final inspection with one of the reason being major crack in foundation wall.. I'm not sure we have an occupancy permit
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Did the company go bankrupt or just shut down? (if you know)

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Have you checked with the Sec of State to see if they are still in good standing with their business license?

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Have you talked to your insurance company?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I contacted the contractor, he told me he retired and he told me to contact his old partner. I tried and he avoided me like the plaque. The guy who told me that he is retired, is running another business! I know it sounds to crazy to be true. One of my coworkers husbands works for him. I called my home owners insurance, they informed me they don't cover foundations unless it was an earthquake. And I have not checked with the sec of state to if license is in good standing. I will check into that. I don't know what do here.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Ok, if he just "shut down" and didn't actually file BK or formally dissolve the business through the Sec of State's office, then you can potentially still sue them. The state statute of limitations for builders is 12 years.

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If the company was something like an LLC, which is typical, and it has no assets, you can still sue them, but the owners aren't personally liable for a judgment.

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But if these were just two individuals who weren't operating under the protection of a Corp, LLC, or Sub S Corp, then they are personally liable for the damage under a breach of contract claim.

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So you need to find out what entity it was that did the work (personally, partnership, LLC, Corp, Sub S Corp) and then whether that legal entity has any assets you can go after.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank that information was very helpful. The township and bank I believe made us hire an inspection company to make sue things were done up to code. I have a paper that reads failed final house inspection, from the inspection company. Some how We were able to move in. I don't think the ever gave us an occupancy permit. Is there any responsibility on inspection company or mortgage company for any of these issues. And if I don't have an occupancy permit and My house is not up to code can they make leave it
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
will I still be responsible for mortgage?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Is there any responsibility on inspection company or mortgage company for any of these issues.

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The inspection company typically just inspects and points out problems. They don't come back to check on them to see if they were fixed unless they are paid to do so. So they did their job in pointing out that it failed inspection due to not being up to code. That is something that should have been red flagged for you to take up with the builder at that time.

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As for the lender, that would be negligence on their part in not making sure the house had a certificate of occupancy (COO), but that would just put their loan at risk if that was discovered and couldn't be corrected without substantial costs as the property would legally be uninhabitable.

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And if I don't have an occupancy permit and My house is not up to code can they make leave it.

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Legally yes, but they would likely just give you a deadline to make repairs as long as they don't thing that the house is dangerous.

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And will I still be responsible for mortgage?

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Unfortunately yes, as primary responsibility would fall on the builder first to make sure that a COO had been issued and then on you as a buyer to double check and make sure the builder wasn't engaging in fraud. A call to the local Building Inspector would have cleared this up initially.

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This is a tough situation because if the builder has gone bankrupt or out of business with no assets, then this all falls directly on you to bear the cost of fixing.

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

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