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I just bought a house. The seller represented the roof as…

I just bought a...

I just bought a house. The seller represented the roof as "brand new roof 30-year permit", however it was just an overlay and wasn't done in some patches. One of those patches is leaking currently. The seller produced an invoice for the roof, claiming they were mislead by the contractor. The contractor said they'd have someone out but sent no-one and have been very uncooperative. The roof was subcontracted by the contractor, and per CA law the roof should have a warranty. The contractor is claiming the warranty is only to the seller, not to me. What should I do?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

No

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3/14/2018
legalgems
legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,053
Experience: Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Additional info:1) The seller is shrugging their shoulders and telling me it's between me and the contractor, but I can't find any documentation that the roof was only an overlay. I'm wondering if I have a case for misrepresentation, and if so how do I put pressure on them?2) My real estate agent is being minimum-helpful.

I am sorry to hear this;

a CA seller has an affirmative duty to disclose any known defects that would materially affect the price/desirability of the home.

If a representation is made that is not true (ie brand new roof when it is only a partial roof) the buyer may sue for negligent or intentional misrepresentation.

Pursuant to code 1797.92 the warranty does apply to subsequent purchasers unless the contract specifically states otherwise; please see:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=CIV&division=3.&title=1.7.&part=4.&chapter=5.&article=

If the amount in dispute is less than $10,000 small claims is the appropriate forum; please see:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

Jury instructions (1910) can be viewed here to see what the prima facie case requires:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/caci_2018_edition.pdf

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you so much, I just sent my first scary email to the seller's agent. I copied it below. Let me know if there's anything else I need to be mindful of.---Hi Sophia,I tried contacting the contractor, and he claims that he owes me nothing as "the contract is between me and whoever you bought the house from." Clearly that's not true, as my lawyer points out:"Pursuant to code 1797.92 the warranty does apply to subsequent purchasers unless the contract specifically states otherwise; check out here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=CIV&division=3.&title=1.7.&part=4.&chapter=5.&article="I have let him know that I'll be pursuing this further. In the interim, if you could find me the contract between you and the contractor that might be helpful if he claims there was a clause in there prohibiting the buyer from warranty rights.Additionally, we have pictures of the sign displayed at the house that states "New Roof (30 Year Permit)." We have not found any disclosures from you that say that the roof was an overlay, or that it wasn't done in some parts (presumably the parts that are leaking).That said, my lawyer is advising me to sue for damages."If a representation is made that is not true (ie brand new roof when it is only a partial roof) you can sue for negligent or intentional misrepresentation."Obviously that isn't my first preference, please rope in the seller and let me know how we can work to make this right.Thank you,
Max

Please remember that this site only provides information and not legal advice so we are not permitted to represent a person as that would require a fee agreement, conflict of interest check, and a complete review of all relevant legal documents.

The buyer's real estate agent also has a duty to disclose if they are aware of the issue - please see:

Great resource on that here:

http://www.dre.ca.gov/files/pdf/re6.pdf

legalgems
legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,053
Experience: Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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legalgems and 87 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I know, I'm faking it for now ;) Thanks again.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Here is their response:"It is industry practice and standard to lay shingles over shingles and is considered a new roof. In CA it is acceptable, by law, to lay two layers of comp shingles. The new roof was permitted through the county of Sacramento and completed by a licensed contractor. Attached is the finalized permit that I pulled with the county that is public information. We have done nothing wrong here. The roof is new, and the contractor has repaired it. He will be there next week to repair the drywall.As you are aware, you had 17 days to inspect the property to your liking and if you for some reason did not approve of standard building code and practice, and did not want a second layer of shingles, you could have identified it during this time frame and cancelled the transaction."And mine:"Based on my initial (oddly candid) call with the contractor, it sounded like they skipped over some parts (including the parts that were leaking) in laying new shingles. So it's only a partial re-roof. I'm getting the roof inspected tomorrow and will let you know what they say, as the difference between a full re-roof and a partial re-roof seems to matter here."Do I have any other ammunition?Thanks!

That's the issue; if a seller represents an improvement as complete versus partial, generally that would be relevant as it would affect the value of the home.

While a buyer must exercise due diligence, the seller is also liable for any misrepresentations, whether negligent or intentional; so if the facts as represented are not accurate the seller can be liable for the difference (ie to bring the home to the represented condition).

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