Sink hole/void hidden during walk through

I bought a home in June 2016 and since January I have been battling with excessive water in the crawl space. The disclosure stated no water intrusion in the crawl space. While I did notice a sump pump in my walk through I thought this was a precautionary pump. I have since found a large Void 6 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep under the foundation that was covered up during inspection with tarp. This had to have been their for several years. I need a remedy as I spend my days pumping out the water every time it rains. I’ve received quotes as low as 8k – 25k to try and fix it and some companies wont even work on it.
The previous owners lived in the house 15 months and sold because of divorce. While I have asked the neighbors if the previous home owner ever mentioned drainage issues most of the neighbors are renters so I no luck their. It appears the only way to win a case like this is to prove the previous homeowners new?? Keep in mind the house is 80 years old and has had many occupants so I can place who put the pump in or put concrete against the house to stop the water intrusion. Would love some guidance of what my options are.

Asked on June 5, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You could also potentially win a fraud case (that's what you'd sue based on: fraud--not disclosing a material or important fact, when that nondisclosure was made to induce you to buy) by showing "constructive knowledge": that is, by showing that any reasonable homeowner under the circustances that existed for the sellers logically must have known of the problem. If they must have known, they can be considered to have had knowledge. So if they lived there for more than a year, it is difficult to believe they would  not have known of the problem (it would be different if they had been absentee owners/investors, but that's not what you describe); therefore, even if you can't prove 100% that they did in fact know, the surrounding circumstances may allow a sufficient inference of knowledge. Based on what you write, it may be worthwhile bringing a lawsuit against them; you appear to have a chance of winning. Be aware that the statute of limitations in your state is only 2 years--if you are thinking of suing, don't wait too long.

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