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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116706
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I need to speak with an attorney regarding a civil matter. I

Customer Question

I need to speak with an attorney regarding a civil matter. I bought my mobile home a little over a year ago inside the Silver Springs Sub Division in Clinton Township, MI. Before my husband and I bought the home, the park claimed to have it inspected. We contacted our homeowners insurance company (American Modern) to inspect water damage and black mold coming from our kitchen area, plus rotted wood near our master bathroom shower pan. Not realizing that according to homeowners insurance, they would not pick up anything on these damages. According to their expertise, this was an ongoing issue for the past 3-4 yrs. The park never informed us of this. I would like to have an attorney look over our papers to see if there is any loophole of such. Someone should be held responsible for this. Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
In order for someone to be liable, it would be the seller if your insurance plan specifically does not cover this type of damage. To hold the seller liable on an as is sale, which the law says any sale of used items would be, you have to prove that the seller at the time of the sale knew the property was not fit for its suited purpose or knew about a hidden defect and failed to disclose. If you can prove the knowledge of the seller at the time of the sale, then you can pursue the seller for breach of the warranty of merchantability or breach of the warranty of good faith, which are really the only warranty rights (common law implied warranties) that a purchaser of a used item has.
In an as is sale, the law says "caveat emptor" or buyer beware and it places the liability for any hidden defects on the buyer and not the seller. So it was on the buyer in this purchase to inspect the home prior to purchase.
If the insurance contract states that they exclude mold or this type of damage, there is generally nothing you can do to change that contract to force coverage though. What does the contract state specifically?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The contract states limited coverage for mold and the slow leak is considered wear and not covered.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If they have limited mold coverage, you need to seek coverage at least for that from the insurer. As far as the slow leak, if wear is not covered there is no loophole for that other than proving the slow leak was not caused by wear but by actual damage to the home from some cause other than wear.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In the exclusions it states loss due and confined to wear and tear, lack of maintenance, neglect or abusive use, mold, rotting, rust, corrosion, marring, deterioration and smog.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your additional information.

If the policy has such an exclusion, you have to go after the seller as I said above by proving the seller knew or should have known of the defects prior to the sale and failed to inform you of them.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How would we be able to prove that the seller had knowledge of the water damage and would it be worth legal fees and court costs for $3000 worth of repairs?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
You would have to get copies of their inspection report to show that their inspector knew about the damage and they failed to disclose it or you would need one of the seller's employees to tell you the truth about the seller's knowledge. As I said above, it is not easy. Generally, attorney's fees could be avoided suing in small claims without an attorney if the damage is not that high.