Real Estate Fraud Not Always Detectable by Home Inspection
Buyers searching for a new home often fall in love with a property right away. Most buyers are looking for homes that are move-in ready and have all the upgrades and features they want. They expect that the sellers’ representation of the property and any improvements are made by certified contractors and are completed within building standards and code. They also believe home inspections will enlighten them on any problems that may be existing within the home.
However, home inspections can’t always see all the problems behind the walls.
Painter and Westfall filed suit on behalf of a couple who bought a home with a recent addition. The buyers were drawn to the property because of the new addition and were told by the sellers that the work was done by a contractor. The sellers also provided a Residential Property Disclosure Form that made affirmative representations that the property, including the room addition, was structurally sound, built in accordance with an applicable building codes and applicable zoning ordinances were complied with.
In actuality, the sellers did not obtain the proper permitting for the room addition nor did it comply with the applicable zoning ordinances. Further, the room addition is believed to have not been built by a certified contractor and is not in compliance with applicable building codes.
Soon after the purchase of the home, the room addition began to have numerous problems relating to its construction including a sagging roof, insufficient support for the roof, bowing of interior wood beams on the ceiling, the window and space heater were installed in a load bearing wall without proper support, carpet was laid over a gutter drain with a plug shoved in it, and no footers were used to allow for shifting of the exterior walls causing severe cracking and moisture damage to the interior of room. It was also found that it was built on an insufficient concrete slab.
Many of these defects would not be found during a typical, reasonable home inspection and would only be revealed after the problems started appearing. The new buyers discovered all of these problems after meeting with certified contractors to fix some of the defects and were told that it would be better to tear down and completely redo the addition.
Distraught that the room addition was the top feature that made them buy they house, they sought legal counsel to learn about their rights and options to remedy the problem. Painter and Westfall filed a complaint for breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.
If you have problems relating to the sale or purchase of a house, Painter & Westfall can help.