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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55717
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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I purchased a home less than a year ago. Recently, I've had

Customer Question

I purchased a home less than a year ago. Recently, I've had 3 water claims. Water in garage after rain; leaking shower upstairs coming through ceiling downstairs and now toilet leaks and when plumber pulled up, there is feces and mold everywhere. Apparently its been leaking for a very long time. Was getting under the wax seal. Do I have any recourse against the seller?
JA: Have you talked to a real estate attorney about this?
Customer: Not yet. The last 2 incidents have happened within the last week.
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: Moorpark, California
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, thank you.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Hi! My name is Richard & I will be helping you today! It will take me a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon. Yes, absolutely you have recourse. The seller is obligated to disclose anything the seller knows or should have known that a reasonable buyer would consider material in making the decision whether or not to buy the property. The issues with all these leaks that you describe clearly qualify as material matters that should have been disclosed and these matters were clearly something the seller knew or should have known. What you want to do is raise the stakes on your seller. You should send the seller a certified, return receipt requested letter detailing the situation and lack of disclosure and demand the seller compensate you to remediate the problem within a short specified period of time. Inform your seller that if he does not timely comply with your demand, you will have no choice but to file a suit for your damages. BUT, be sure to specifically mention that if forced to file this suit, you will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as fraud and deceptive trade practice causes of action, which will entitle you not only to your damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your suit. Even if you have to file the suit, that's likely all you will need do. In my experience, the seller will settle this without a hearing rather than risk punitive damages and the fraud and/or deceptive trade practice judgments being on the record.

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Even though they said plumbing issues and I signed off on it. Won't it be he said/she said? I can't prove they knew about it. There was no visable evidence until recently. The plumber that came to replace the toilet said that it was happening for a while and that the fix was a quick fix that really wasn't a fix.
Expert:  Richard replied 2 months ago.

Given the multitude of problems, it's likely a jury is going to find that even if the seller didn't actually know about this, the seller "should have known." And, in my experience, "plumbing issues" isn't going to be deemed to be proper disclosure of the myriad of problems later discovered.