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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116715
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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We were in the process of purchasing a home in a Alaska. The

Customer Question

We were in the process of purchasing a home in a
Alaska. The home was advertised as a 4 garage home, 3 are on the main level and the 4th was located in a partial finished basement and the only egress into the basement garage is the garage door. The residential code regarding egress says the egress door shall be side-hinged, and shall provide a minimum clear width of 32 inches when measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees. The minimum clear height of the door opening shall not be less than 78 inches in height measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop. Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions. Egress doors shall be readily openable from inside the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.The Alaska fire marshal says that the reasoning is if the door malfunctioned and came off of the rollers it would be imposable for a small child or fragile person to open a roll up garage door and the child or person cold become trapped inside. The garage door it self does not meet the height requirement either, the basement garage is built with cement on all walls and ceiling and there is no way to add a side hinged door. The house was also listed with a jetted tub which it does not have. We have backed out and they are refusing to return our $7500.00 in earnest money. Is there anything that we can do to recovery our earnest money. The Fire Marshall has told me that if someone was to become trapped and now that I know that it is against code I would be held liable in court.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months 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.
What is your question for us regarding this matter?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
What are my rights, I was buying a home with a 4 car garage. But legally it is just a 3 car garage, what can I do ? See the original email that I sent!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
thank you for your reply.
If they misrepresented the home and it was not obvious to you upon inspection prior to purchase then you have the right to sue for misrepresentation and seek either a reduction of price or to rescind the sale based on them misrepresenting the nature of the property sold to you. However, if you viewed the premises prior to purchase and you observed the condition, then I am afraid you have no claims against the seller, because you were liable to inspect the home before purchase.
You were responsible for inspecting all of those things before you made the purchase. If you failed to do so, you cannot hold the seller liable I am sorry to say, which is a huge problem for you I understand, but when people buy used things they are supposed to examine them to make sure they are in proper condition and you had a right to get an inspection done.
Unless the seller sold it to you under warranty, it is likely you will not have legal recourse.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
We did not find out until a few days prior to closing that the garage could not be legally used as a garage or any other type of room. This came up when a friend of mine was looking at pictures of the house and said that it was required to have a different door, this is when I contacted the Alaska Fire Marshall and was told that it did not pass code. The house was inspected but the inspector did not know this was a requirement .
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
So you should not be closing and if the seller will not resolve this by a reduction in price at the least, then you have grounds to cancel the contract since this is a breach of contract based on misrepresentation.