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Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 68
Experience:  Sworn to the California Bar in 2011. Former staff editor at The New York Times Co. and seasoned news professional of 20 years experience in the U.S. and abroad.
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Is a owner knowingly allowed to sell home that has plumbing

Customer Question

Is a owner knowingly allowed to sell home that has plumbing problems broken pipes and not tell the owner I mean the buyer? Their inspection that they gave us was wrong, misdirected done before we got got here to even no I was going on. We pay cash for the house the duplex and they have our house up for rent still. We have pictures of the basement where it's flooding the basement are brand new air conditioners and down there brand new water heaters are down there and we have to have it pumped out everyday more than 5 or 6 times a day. We're having to put toxic stuff down in there and they're planning to try to get it to stop we found out that the pipes might be busted. I had a dog die on me yesterday and one that got sick the day before and was rushed to the vet. My friend and I the one that bought that house or duplex are having problems breathing and having a sinus problems and they knowingly sold his house knowing that all the stuff was wrong there's more than just some running around I can get into it not typing it I have to talk to someone. I think that's why my dog died because of all the toxic that's coming up from the basement or air conditioners are coming from the vent. Please let me know if you can help me or if you no anyone here in Wichita Kansas. I've called a couple of lawyers but nobody wants to help me they say they don't have any lawyers here in town to help. The contract is a mess inspection papers are a mess and the house is a mess. I'm not sure they sent you the right papers I have the other pictures also of the basement and other things that are going on the house but my friend has it on her phone.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert: replied 3 months ago.

Hi, I'm Scott!
I hope I can help you with some perspective.
Be aware that I am licensed for law in California only, and in any case, lawyers here are not able to offer specific legal advice, rather only address issues of law generally.

The short answer to your question "No! sellers are not allowed to omit important information which would influence ordinary buyers to buy or not buy."

The general rule in sales between those who are not professional merchants but dealing at arms' length is "caveat emptor": let the buyer beware! Buyer and seller are charged with looking out for themselves.

However, that policy has limits, particularly in complex, unique transactions, including real estate.

Sellers may be liable for fradulent statements that induce buyers to buy, or material omission of important facts that also induce buyers and that may amount to deceit.

In a situaltion as you describe, providing an outdated home inspection and deliberately omitting information about significant problems with the property/house, and the problems are such that a buyer is unlikely to discover themelves by their own inspection, may be the basis for a lawsuit based on misrepresentation, which can be based on contract or tort, or both (as it seem here).

'Signifcant problems' are those that make the house uninhabitable until they are corrected, and unlikely ot be discovered by prospective buyers without extroaordinary investigation. One example would be extensive termite damage to internal load-bearing walls/wood such as to endanger the structure; other examples would be pervasive infrastructure problems, like electrics, gas and plumbing that can render the house dangerous or otherwise uninhabitable.

The circumstances described here would seem to indicate not just an omission of material facts, but an intent to deceive by providing an outdated or incompetent home inspection to the prospective buyer.

[Now, if on the buyers own tour of the hour they went through the basement and observed pipes brokens, and spewing water or waste water, etc., and the significant defects were obvious, then the buy will be charged with knowledge and seller can escape liability.]

The cash aspect of this transaction presents complications if the seller has disappeared.

Buyers in this position should contact a lawyer licensed in their jurisdiction for more details on their potential for recovery. And I'm sorry you are having difficulty finding one.

As an alernative, courts are increasingly recognizing the need for individual to persue self-help measures, and you might consider and find resource at your local legal aid or court house.

Unfortunately, in the meantime you will have to cope with the problem and expense yourself. And, as I'm sure you know, legal remedies can take a long time.

Is there a possibility your homeowners insurance can provide some assistance more immediately and even possibly take on the legal remedies? Some insurance offers this, so it may be worth a call to your homeowners carrier.

I hope this provides some helpful perspect -- and if so, I would appreciate a favorable rating.

Expert: replied 3 months ago.

As I indicated, I am not licensed to practice law in Kansas, so I am limited by what I can offer.
If you choose to pursue self-representation, you are permitted to seek assistance in legal research and with writing your complaint and other court filings.

I do offer such legal research and legal writing services at


Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Do I have a tale for you. You would probably wish you were licensed here for this!!
Expert: replied 3 months ago.

I'm sure you do!

And I urge you to seek redress where merited.

Unfortunately this form is limited, and has to be because of the nature of law practice and legal ethics.

If you decide to proceed pro se, and need help with legal writing for complaint and later filings, I hope you keep me in mind.

Good Luck & Best Wishes