Cam I sue for repairs

I recently moved into my home 2 months
after my basement flooded. Had plumbers
come out and remove roots from sewer
line. Then had them scope line where
they found a busted piece of pipe with
more roots in it. Had to have over 6
thousand dollars of work done. There was
nothing on the disclosure about anything
regarding a problem or fix for any
previous issues. And roots don’t grow in
2 months to block a complete sewer line.

Asked on December 18, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, did--and can you prove in court?--that the seller knew, or reasonably, based on the circumstances, MUST have known, about the problem. You have to show knowledge, or at least that is is implausible that the seller did not have knowlege, to establish fraud (a misrepresentation, including by non-disclosure, of a material issue made so you would buy the house and/or pay more than you would pay if the issue was known), and only fraud will hold the seller liable for your costs. If there was no knowledge, there was no fraud and no liability.
On a plumbing, not legal, note: I had my sewer line blocked by roots. We had no notice of it until the first time it happened: prior to the first occurence, the plumbing worked. Therefore, it is not necessarily the case that the seller must have known, if this had not previously been a problem.

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