Bought a home 1.5 years ago, recently discovered extensive water damage in the walls, what are my options?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Bought a home 1.5 years ago, recently discovered extensive water damage in the walls, what are my options?

My wife and I bought our first home in September of 2016. We had a home inspection done, and they did note the windows would eventually need to be replaced but not for 5 to 10 more years. Other than that they did not note any damage in their report. Fast forward to February of 2018, we noticed some of the paint on one of the walls in the guest bedroom was cracked and though it was a settling crack without thinking much of it. I reached down to inspect and I was able to peel all of the paint off of the wall from the area. Also, in the process I noticed the dry wall was spongy and it disintegrated as I touched it. We took all of the drywall off of the wall and discovered extensive water damage inside the walls, most likely from the windows. It also looks like the previous owner have have already repaired damaged wood, but did not address the water issue but this would be hard to prove. Several professionals stated that it looks like the water damage has been going on for many years. We now have to replace all of the windows in our home $8,200, replace the studs and sill on exterior walls in at least 2 rooms $3,000-$5,000, and possible have to reside our home to fix the water leakage issues $5,000-$10,000. We don’t feel like we should be responsible for this and this should be either covered by either A the previous homeowner B the inspection company or C homeowner’s insurance. If we are responsible for this work we will probably have to take out a second mortgage on a home we just moved into and was sold as

Asked on April 11, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller (previous owner) for fraud and the inspector for negligence.
Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment.
In other words, you would not have bought the house had you known of the water damage.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit for fraud) would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property purchased regardless of the fact that the actual loss suffered might have been less.
Out of pocket determination of damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and actual value of the property acquired.
Negligence on the part of the inspector is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable home inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Your damages for negligence would be the foreseeable results of the negligence such as your cost of repairs.
You would file one lawsuit naming the seller and inspector as defendants.  
Fraud and negligence are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption