If aneighbor had a building collapse due to a mine shaft, should this had been disclosed to us when we purchased our home?

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If aneighbor had a building collapse due to a mine shaft, should this had been disclosed to us when we purchased our home?

We recently bought this home and after moving in found out our neighbor had a building fall into a mine shaft 200 ft away. It took 27 truck loads of cement to fill and no water was pumped out. Now we have grayish water with black specks in it. My wife did have white wash clothes. This has happened in less than 30 days.

Asked on June 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It's not 100% clear that it needed to be revealed, but here are the criteria typically affecting it:

1) First, did the seller of the home know about the collapse? If he did not, then he had no obligation to disclose; you can't be required to disclose that which you don't know.

2) Even if he knew there was a collapse, if the seller thought that it either had never affected his property (since you are  not required to report that which happens in your neighborhood, if it does not affect you) or that it had been completely remediated, so there was no problem (you don't need to disclose many things that are taken care of), he probably had no duty to disclose.

3) The scenario where there would be a clear cut duty to disclose is where the seller knew there was an ongoing problem affecting health, safety, resale value, etc.--e.g. contaminated water--and did not disclose it.

It is probably worth consulting with a real estate attorney, who can evaluate the circumstances and advise you as to your likely recourse. Good luck.


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