What are our rights if we bought a house and discovered that our HVAC was installed improperly because our seller used an unlicensed contractor to install it but did not disclose that to us?

The only way to fix our AC is to basically get a new one and have it installed correctly according to the AC repairman that we had come out. What are our legal rights with regard to the seller and is he liable for this?

Asked on August 26, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

At this point, since the A/C unit is something which can be inspected and viewed, you most likely have no rights against the seller only problems with respect to undisclosed latent or hidden defects which the seller knew of survive closing. If an issue was something that was reasonably detectable or visible to the buyer  and/or his/her home inspector--like the size of the A/C unit or how it is connected/installed, for example--then the law presumes the buyer had the chance to discover it but nonetheless chose to go ahead with the purchase. You can try to sue the seller for fraud, and if a court feels that this was not a discoverable problem, then you might be able to recover compensation, so it is not impossible you'd win, but it would be an uphill battle based on what you write not only would you have to prove that the problem was not reasonably discoverable by you prior to the sale, but also that the seller knew there was a problem e.g. knew the contractor was unlicensed and/or knew it didn't work correctly, which may also be difficult.
As to the home warranty the warranty is a contract, so the warranty company needs to pay for whatever the warranty provides review the terms of the warranty possibly with the help of an attorney to see if this situation is covered. If you feel it is, but the warranty company still won't pay, you may be able to sue them for breach of contract.


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