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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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We purchased a house a few weeks ago but put the offer in

Customer Question

We purchased a house a few weeks ago but put the offer in back in Nov - closed in April. As part of the P&S, we required the property in the back of the yard be cleaned up from construction debris dumped when an addition was built. It wasn't done and instead of holding up the closing, the sellers lawyer held back $1,000 for clean up. Once we brought in someone to quote the clean up, we found that they had dumped lead pipes, concrete blocks and other illegal items - we are looking at a huge cleanup of illegal material dumped and buried in the back yard and we have well water. Do we have recourse to go back after the seller and have them clean it up due to it being illegally dumped? It was the seller that had the addition put on 4 years ago and dumped this material.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: My apologies - Massachusetts
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: not yet, we only moved in 3 weeks ago
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses, but rest assured, I am working on your question. The website may offer a phone call option, but it is optional.

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Did your written contract specify that the seller would be responsible for all clean up and removal?

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Or did it eventually boil down to them putting $1000 towards clean up costs and you agreed to accept that amount?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The purchase and sales stated that they were to clean up the debris, at the time, we were under the impression that it was a bit of debris at the surface level, we noticed at final walk through it wasn't cleaned up and brought it up at the closing. our broker estimated about $1,000 to clean it up and the attorney's worked it out to agree on that amount. Since moving in, we have discovered that it's not just a bit of debris that we can see but that there are buried lead pipes and other illegal items that have been dumped back there after a construction project in 2013.Our concern is, these items that were dumped could effect the well they also boarder wetlands and since they are illegal items that were dumped, we can't ignore that it's back there but we also want the person that dumped them illegally to be held responsible for cleaning up his illegal activities.
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

I think that you would have fairly strong legal footing to sue the seller for breach of contract as the 1000 was just the estimated amount that it might cost. They knew that they buried the illegal items and this was a material fact that they failed to disclose. If they had done so, you would have likely refused to close untill it was cleaned up. So they misrepresented the problem here and that could be viewed as fraud.

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So I think that if you had a local attorney send them a demand letter for your estimated costs of clean up, they might just pay it rather than have to hire an attorney, defend in court and likely lose..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** have absolutely refused to close and walked away from the property if it wasn't taken care of. I appreciate your help.
Have a great day.
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time. And I completely agree with you had you known what they actually did here..

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the caption and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

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If you feel I have answered all your questions, I would very much appreciate a 5 star rating by clicking on the rating scale on your screen as that is the only way I receive credit for my work.

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Thanks much

Barrister