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socallegalwork, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 104
Experience:  Attorney and licensed real estate broker (and Certified Distressed Property Expert), specializing in real estate matters.
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I recently purchased a home as-is in California. There is

Customer Question

Good afternoon. I recently purchased a home as-is in California. There is carpet in one room that I plan to replace. This carpet was recently installed by the previous owner just prior to sale. I just discovered there is asbestos underneath. The owner did not disclose this. I understand they properly never had it tested so they did not know for sure but I know they did at least suspect it due to the way they handled the flooring installation and also after speaking with the floor company that did the work. Do I have any recourse, or is this even worth pursing?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: California
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No paperwork has been filed regarding this issue as of yet.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't believe so.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  socallegalwork replied 1 month ago.

Hello. I believe I can assist you.

This was arguably a material condition that should have been disclosed by the sellers and their agent if they knew or should have known about the condition. Although you presumably purchased the property "as is," it does not excuse them from reporting material conditions they knew or should have known about. As they just recently installed the carpet, that would appear to be true in this case. However, if you pursue them in court, asking for reimbursement for the cost of safely removing it from the premises, it will be your burden to prove they knew or should have known about it.

Agents, and more especially the brokers they work under, do not like the idea of lawsuits that can effect their E & O coverage.

I would suggest reaching out to the seller's agent and broker and advising them of your discovery and the likely cost of removing the asbestos (have you gotten any estimates?) and remind them that this was not disclosed as it should have been. See if you can resolve this informally without having to incur the costs of formal litigation. In my experience, buyers are sometimes able to reach some accommodation with the sellers on these types of issues. If not, you may need to retain a local attorney and file suit. Depending on the cost, you might also consider small claims ($5,000 damages or less).

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