Who is responsible for severe water and termite damage in my home if I had it inspected before I purchased it approximately 1 1/2 years ago?

I had my home inspected and repaired (roof work) prior to purchasing it. After a week of heavy rain, I noticed mold in my closet. After opening the wall, I have discovered damage to the framing in my bedroom and the adjoining room. The homeowner’s insurance company will not cover the cost of the repairs as they have cited it as a long-term problem. They will cover $2500 of mold remediation, but the total damage is estimated at $15-25K. The property was part of an estate and the deceased owner’s family have stated that they were unaware of it although supportive 2x4s were installed.

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The key issue is whether they did, or reasonably must have, known. If they did know and failed to disclose, you may be able to hold them liable. If they did not know, then they would not be responsible. The "supportive 2x4s" provides at least some evidence that they did know, but it's not dispositive: maybe a prior owner put them in; maybe they were there to remediate some other issue or provide general support (i.e. no connection to mold). For the amount  of damages (money) you describe being at stake, it is worth your time to consult in detail with an attorney to discuss the situation and evidence and explore your options.


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