If after purchasing my house I discovered that the A/C unit was not working, who is responsible for this?

UPDATED: Jun 12, 2015

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If after purchasing my house I discovered that the A/C unit was not working, who is responsible for this?

The seller said everything was working properly. The inspection report stated that said it was too cold to turn on the A/C. The realtor for not putting money back in escrow just in case.

Asked on June 12, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The realtor is not responsible because they have no obligation to escrow funds "just in case." The inspector is not responsible IF the report was honest--that it was too cold to test the A/C. Only if they lied on the report (e.g. knew it didn't work, but wrote down they didn't test it) might the inspector be liable. The seller would only be responsible if he/she lied, or committed fraud: that is, knew the A/C did not work, but knowing that, intentionally misrepresented its status, with the intention that you rely on that mispresentation, which you reasonably did. Fraud would provide grounds to recover compensation, such as the cost to repair the unit. You may be able to show fraud if the fault or problem with the unit is such that the seller must have reasonably known it was not working. However, if the seller truly did not know that the unit did not work--e.g. it worked last season, but broke after that or only when you tried turning it on now; or the seller him/herself did not live in the home last A/C season (e.g. they rented it out or a relative lived there) and did not know there was a problem--they would not be responsible or liable.

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