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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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During purchase of my home, septic system backed up. I

Customer Question

During purchase of my home, septic system backed up. I demanded inspection in writing. I was told in writing it was completed and system was in working order and 10,000 was put in escrow to assist me in tying into public system to obtain full occupancy permit. There are no sewers on the street and no way to tie in at this time. The septic backs ups every month due to bowed and tree filled pipes. The seller paid a plumber prior to the sale to repair some plumbing issues ( not disclosed) and another buyer backed out 1 week before I purchased the property when they discovered the plumbing issues ( known to the Estate selling the home and the agent) not disclosed to me, the buyer. I found this out while trying to fix the septic problem between the township and the county after the closing.I wrote a letter asking for the 10,000 escrow to be released in order to repair the damaged septic pipes and got permission from township to do the work. The Estate refused to release the money claiming it was only for the purposes of tie into to public sewers which do not currently exist. I am on disability and earn less than 15,000 per year. I need help getting a letter to Estate or wish to sue the Estate, their selling agent and my agent due to all the lies. The system was never emptied or inspected as promised (in writing), an old inspection was used to obtain temporary occupancy report ( done by agents not buyer) and seller and agent knew there was a plumbing issue and failed to disclose. Can someone please help me, I live with constant back ups of raw sewage. Can an attorney write a letter demanding the release of the escrow or sue the agents and seller for all of this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation.

1) JustAnswer experts cannot take on customers as clients. What I can do is provide a letter to you as an example. Would this suffice?

2) Is the current issue preventing you from receiving a full occupancy permit?

3) Is there any way you can upload/copy and paste the verbiage from the escrow agreement?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I need an attorney to help me gain this money. Yes, the current issue does prevent me for receiving a full occupancy permit. Yes I can upload the exact letter concerning the escrow and letters to and from my agent that clearly show the seller was going to fix the problem before closing and letters saying they did. I have the letter from the estate responding to my request to obtain the money held in escrow as well. He too, says the problem was fixed and I have proof it was not, and old inspection was used to gain temporary occupancy permit at the township in spite of the fact the septic backed up BEFORE closing and I was told it was emptied and inspected BEFORE I closed. Neither was done.
To The Estate of David Gage,
I have personally verified with the township supervisor John Mccafferty - Director (Acting) (412) (###) ###-#### ***** Hills that although there is a sewer approximately 125 feet from the property, it is up hill, through a neighbors yard, under a fence and a driveway. Penn Hills has determined this is not a feasible solution to the problem. They will sign off on the property, only if the broken pipes are all repaired and the system is up to code.The Estate was aware of a problem with the plumbing and did agree to pay for the septic tank to be emptied and inspected.This was never done. The buyer was told via email ( in writing) that the plumbing system was inspected and in good working order 2 days prior to closing. This was untrue. The inspection report submitted to Penn Hills was dated July 2014, not March 2015. We agreed to complete the purchase only AFTER being told the septic system was in good working order.
The first back up occurred BEFORE we purchased the home which lead to the last minute scramble to have SELLER agree to empty the tank and and a plumbing inspection to occur. I personally received an email while working from Elise stating the inspection occurred and the plumbing passed. She added she obtained a 10,000 escrow to insure a working system. As everyone knows, the closing was a nightmare when Elise stomped out in the middle claiming buyer was a liar and she was going to prove it. She never returned. Buyer produced email proving she was told there was a home warrantee on the property and Seller agreed to pay for it since buyer was obviously deceived. Buyer also has emails and text messages to verify statements in this letter concerning the plumbing.
WE have not had a working plumbing system since purchasing the property on Duff Road. Since the problem occurred BEFORE closing and Buyer was deceived we will proceed with legal demand for the money held in escrow be used to make the Buyer whole. We will further be seeking all legal fees, damages to the property and its contents as well as fraud by all parties involved in this transaction.
We have attempted every possible remedy to resolve this issue to no avail and since the Estate was aware the inspection was old and there was a known problem to the system prior to sale and it was not disclosed, the Buyer has no other alternative than to sue for damages. The term AS-IS only applies when the seller is not aware of an existing problem. The seller attempted to sell this home to another buyer 1 month prior and was notified of the need to tie into the public system and did not disclose this to the Buyer until after the backup prior to sale. They only agreed to the escrow AFTER the Buyer discovered the problem. This party was told 30 days after the sale there was no feasible plan to tie into the public sewer system and that the house should have never been sold without repairing the bowed and tree root filled pipes leading to the septic system. ( Allegheny County had notified previous owner with a letter 1 year prior to the sale of this fact)
I personally have contacted Penn Hills, Allegheny County, plumbers, the warrantee company as well as the secondary warrantee I purchased for the property and no one will cover the damage since it was preexisting and documented. I was hoping the estate was going to agree to do the right thing where this property is concerned. We have lived with the constant smell of raw sewage, 13 cleanups of raw sewage on the lower level of the house and have been unable to use the property as we had planned. No work can be done on the lower level until the problem is resolved and we face the house being condemned at any time since we cannot obtain a full occupancy permit without the repairs and We can not afford the repairs after spending over 5,000 to date bringing the property to code.
If the Estate does not respond within 48 hours, Buyers will proceed with a lawsuit. Happy Holidays for those who do not have to live in the land of raw sewage.Lorri Jackson Pierce
Travis D. Jackson
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

I am going to opt out of your question and open this up for other experts.

Your JustAnswer Account has not been charged for this conversation and your question is back in the queue. You do not have to stay online for the question to be active. Should an expert pick it up, you should be alerted via email and/or SMS (text message) unless you actively disable these features.

There is no need for you to reply at this time as this will "lock" your question back to me, thus inadvertently delaying other experts' access to it.

My apologies for any inconvenience and good luck...

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. I see your prior expert has opted out so I will see if I can help you. My name is Richard.

If you would like me to draft a template of a very strong demand letter for you, I can do that for you through the Additional Services option offered by JustAnswer. If that would be helpful, let me know and I'll extend that offer and you can then decide whether or not to accept. Fair enough? In my experience, these type demand letters can typically get you the resolution you seek without the necessity of a lawsuit. Just let me know. :)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not interested and hired an attorney since no one responded. i just found your answer when looking for a refund.