What are my rights if I purchased a home 7 month ago and now have problems with my roof?

The house was advertised with a new roof. Upon inspection it was found out that the roof was not new and only had a couple years left. I requested a new roof. My realtor talked with the other realior who said she would have the roof inspected and certified. The other did as she said and I was given a 10 certification on the roof. To today where I have a leak in my roof. I had a contractor come and look at what need to be repaired. The contractor asked if the roof was inspected prior to purchase and I told him yes it was certified. The contractor said the roof is in poor shape and needs to be replaced. Do I have any recourse against the certifier or the agent that sold the house?

Asked on October 20, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You would only have recourse against them if you can show that one or the other lied about the certifiction that you received--for example, never had a real inspection done but faked up a certification, or passed on to you an altered certification, or instructed the person who did the certification to lie. In that case, they committed fraud by lying about a material fact, and that fraud would allow you to seek monetary compensation.
However, if neither of them lied about the certification, then you most likely cannot receive compensation. Even if they lied in the initial advertisement, you apparently found out that the roof was old during your initial inspection, before concluding the transaction. You had then the opportunity to pull out of the sale, but chose to not do that means that their initial misrepresentation is negated by your decision to move ahead. That's why it's critical for you case that either the seller or agent lied in regards to the second certification, since if they lied about that, then it was likely fraud--since you never received any notice that that second inspection and certification was not reliable or correct.
You may, however, even if they are not liable, be able to seek compensation from the inspector who did the second inspection and certification, if his inspection was negligent, or careless.
In this case, where you don't know who did what, you may wish to consider suing the seller, agent, and certifying inspector during the lawsuit, there'd be mechanisms and opportunitities to potentialy find out who knew or did what. Of course, there is also the risk that you'll sue and find out that no one did anything for which you could receive compensation.

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