If a window cannot be replaced by the seller due to extensive and unforeseen damage to structure supporting the window, are they responsible?

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If a window cannot be replaced by the seller due to extensive and unforeseen damage to structure supporting the window, are they responsible?

Home inspector noticed damage around leaking window due to rotting. In the contract for sale, we required seller to replace window. Contractor started to replace window and noticed there was more damage than what was planned and bid for. Now contractor cannot install new window. Is the seller responsible for fixing the extra damage so that the window can be installed?

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, you need an attorney to review the contract with you, since its precise language is critical. That said, ordinarily if the contract obligated the seller to replace windows, he/she would have to replace  them even if the cost turned out to higher (even significantly higher) than anticipated. If the seller  refuses, you probably could not terminate the contract (a single window is not a "material" or significant-enough issue to justify terminating an entire home sale), but could sue the seller later for the cost to do what he or she should have done. Of course, since law suits cost money, take time and effort, and can go on for months or even years if the parties elect to fight it out to the bitter end, best would probaby be to compromise, such as by you contributing something towards the cost if the seller is reluctant to pay the full additional amount.


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