The previous owner did not disclose the basement was prone to raw sewage backup from a nearby lift station. It’s flooded my basement 6 times isn 16 years. Who is liable?

Can I sue?

Asked on April 12, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) IF the previous owner knew of the problem and knowing of it, did not disclose it, that failure to disclose may be fraud; and fraud could entitle you to compensation IF you are still within the statute of limitations, or time period to sue. Unfortunately, in your state, the statute for fraud is only 4 years, so if I'm interpreting your question correctly and you've been there at least 16 years (i.e. you bought the house at least 16 years ago), it's far too late to take legal action or hold the prior owner responsible.
2) If the water authority's system has failed, you don't need to take their opinion that they are not liable as a legal determination-it's not. You have the right to sue them and try to prove in court that they are liable for the damage, cleaning costs, etc. A judge, not the water authority, decides liability.

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