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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7012
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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My mother purchased a home in December of 2015 and she and I

Customer Question

Hello. My mother purchased a home in December of 2015 and she and I now live in it. It was supposedly renovated from top to bottom in 2010 and now includes a mother-in-law apartment in the finished basement. Obviously the house has 2 kitchens and it also has 3 full bathrooms. It is in a very desireable area in Salt Lake City, UT and cost $450,000 (the sellers would not BUDGE on the asking price). Unfortunately, I have discovered the entire house is infested with Powder Post Beetles and ALL of the cabinetry and woodwork is now riddled with holes and continues to get worse at an alarming rate. All of the cabinetry and drawers are of the same kind of wood. These beetles have also attacked the hardwood floors, my mother's piano (from her childhood, she is 78 years old) and many of our antiques. The speed at which this damage occurs causes me untold anxiety (I've lost countless hours of sleep over this and I'm completely freaked out) and of course I've had several profesional pest control companies out to the house in my desperation to diagnose this problem. The larvae has also done a great deal of damage to my skin, my mother's and our housekeeper's (I've seen 3 dermatologists now and had a biopsy which resulted in an unsightly scar). My question is this: given the high cost of the house and the fact we haven't even lived here a year, is there any recourse for us with the sellers, the cabinet company they used for the renovation or our inspectors who did NOT figure this out prior to our purchasing the home? I feel extremely angry about this situation not to mention the untold amount of wasted, anxiety-filled hours and costs we're incurring in our attempts to rid the house of these destructive pests (of which we still have not achieved). Every day I find more and more holes in all things wood and I'm just sick about it (literally). My mother is a retired elementary teacher and we live on her fixed income. Because of her degenerative Neurological disorder I quit my job to care for her full time. Can we sue the cabinet makers? I've read that Powder Post Beetles generally start at the warehouse level where the wood was not properly treated to prevent this. PLEASE HELP!!!! Many thanks! Stacey
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Utah
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No. Perhaps you should read my initial letter to answer some of your questions.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not that I can think of. I don't know if it's something the seller knew about or not which I guess would be difficult to prove, but I still feel as though a party other than us is responsible for this nightmare and should have to participate in the costs for not just extermination but it may lead to something much bigger like having to have all of the cabinetry replace. Also, the damage it's doing to our antiques is irreparable. Even the wood picture frames of our fine art are getting ruined!!! All of the woodwork (molding, baseboards, trim etc.) is affected. As I said, it's a nightmare and it isn't over yet!!!! We thought we were buying an essentially relatively new house and we feel taken advantage of. Even the mantle of the fireplace shows this damage. What if it all has to be torn out and replaced???
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 4 months ago.

Good morning Stacey. Thanks for using JUST ANSWER. What a problem! I've been involved in real estate buying, selling, rehab for many many years and I have never heard of a problem like yours. There is a possibility that other people may be legally liable for the damages that you sustained. Any claim that you make will have to be supported by expert testimony. I can't tell you where to find one in your field, but I would start at the nearest university. The expert must have the experience and training to be able to testify as to whether or not the Beatles were in fact in the wood when it was used in the construction of the home. Secondly, whether or not the infestation should have been discovered in December 2015 when you had the home inspected, and whether or not the former owners would have seen evidence of the infestation.Your case, must be based upon more than supposition. Liability against any of the parties you mentioned must be established with reasonable certainty. I'm not sure if you should, or even can get a lawyer involved at this point, i.e. before you have scientific evidence to establish fault. Wish you the best of luck getting the investigation stopped as soon as possible.

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Expert:  Irwin Law replied 4 months ago.

Hello again. I hope that I have provided excellent service and, if so, would love a 5 star rating. If not, please let me know how I can further assist you. There is no additional charge to you for rating me. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.

Thanks again for using JUST ANSWER.

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