What are my rights if my home inspector failed to find major structural flaws with a house that I just purchased?

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What are my rights if my home inspector failed to find major structural flaws with a house that I just purchased?

Fools butchered the roof support (10 roof trusses were cut, leaving garage unsafe, ceiling sags 5″). Cracks were covered up when we toured home. Discovered this mess upon move-in. Tile roof visibly sags, as does garage ceiling. Doubtful that a permit was issued or an inspection of work performed. I’m 56 and my life’s savings are tied up in this. I feel work was performed illegally and that the house’s integrity was misrepresented; the hired inspector was incompetent. There are numerous ceiling cracks from the stress. Inspector first acted as though they would do something but have since backed off. Multiple people are at fault here. What can I do? Should I speak with a litigation attorney? I’m in Pinal County, AZ.

Asked on August 5, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Given what's at stake, you should definitely speak with an attorney--it would be worthwhile. However, be prepared that you may not have a case:

1) Read your agreement or contract with the home inspector--they usually limit the home inspector's liablity substantially, and those limits are usually valid. Even without that, home inspectors are not liable for conditions that could not be seen without opening up walls, scraping off plaster, etc.

2) You *may* have recourse against the seller, IF the seller

a) Know of the problems

b) Deliberately hid the problems from you, in order to induce you to by the home

c) The problems would not be visible or obvious to you when you toured the home

In other words, if you can show there was fraud on the part of the seller, there may be liability and recourse.

However, you also need to check the home sale contract, to see what limitations on liability might exist. Bring all paperwork, for home purchase, inspection, etc. with you when you consult with the attorney.

 


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