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Ray, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 42909
Experience:  Texas Attorney for 30 years dealing in real estate
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I purchased property last year in Richmond Virginia. A few

Customer Question

I purchased property last year in Richmond Virginia. A few weeks ago, fuel started coming out of my water taps. It appears there was a buried underground tank not disclosed to me by the seller, and he knew about it at the time of the closing. It appears that his neighbor previously got a heat pump and wanted to get rid of his above ground tank, so the seller disconnected his underground tank and installed his neighbors above ground tank for fuel. No permits were obtained . After a number of years, a hole developed in the underground tank in leaked out the fuel. This contaminated my well water which is my only source of water. I have gotten DEQ involved, and they have been great, but here is my question: I hired an inspector to inspect the property prior to the purchase. Evidence of the underground tank was evident in the crawl space underneath the house. He claims he had no responsibility to disclose this to me in the inspection report. I think he's wrong and I would like to take action against him. Secondly, what recourse do I have against the seller? Although DEQ will cover most of the expenses, I have had to pay out of pocket a considerable sum of money while waiting for DEQ to get involved. I wish to hire an attorney but I cannot seem to locate an attorney who handles these matters. Where can I locate such an attorney?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ray replied 2 years ago.
Hi and welcome to JA. I am Ray and will be the expert helping you today.
This is considered a material breach of the sales contract based on non disclosure.
You will need a lawyer here locally to send demand letters to all the parties involved and seek to hold all of them liable.This includes seller, inspector, and realtor.
I would disagree that the inspector has no liability to report anything seen and observed here in Virginia.
You would see of you get offers of settlement here from the parties from the demand letters.The real estate agent and the inspector usually have errors and omission coverage and the seller may have had home owners coverage again as a potential source of funds.
Your lawyer would likely use a forensic accountant or other expert to project your damages.This might include your inconvenience, damage to health, etc in additional to costs of remediation and legal fees and costs.
Once you are able to receive offers then you decide if you want to sue the remaining parties here.I very much think you will get some partial offers of settlement off the demand letters.
You want a real estate litigation lawyer, you can locate one here.
I appreciate the chance to help you today.Sorry you are having to deal with all of this.If you have more follow up please just ask.Thanks again.
Expert:  Ray replied 2 years ago.
Virginia law for reference, here it is pretty clear there was not disclosure as required of the tank..
You can file a complaint here about the realtor.
Complain about the inspector here.
Regulatory Programs and Compliance Section
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation ***** Suite 400
Richmond, Virginia###-##-####
Phone:(###) ###-####
FAX:(###) ###-####
I appreciate the chance to help.You use the shotgun method and go after everyone and see who you can get recovery from.
Expert:  Ray replied 2 years ago.
You have five years to bring suit here, plenty of time left.
Contract (in writing), 5 years
Va. Code § 8.01-246(2)
If you can leave a positive rating when we are done it is always much appreciated.Good luck with all here.