Can I get theprevious homeowners or the inspector to cover the cost of a defective roof?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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Can I get theprevious homeowners or the inspector to cover the cost of a defective roof?

We purchased our home 3 years ago and when they did the home inspection they didn’t check the roof; there was snow and the inspector told us the house was new and so there shouldn’t be any issues. The roof leaks and we have recently found out the old owners had issues with it leaking and never told us. Is there anything we can do or has too much time passed?

Asked on February 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The answer depends on whether the Sellers gave you a Property Disclosure Affidavit or if they credited you $500. In New York in order to sell a house you must give disclosure and fill out a three page form as to all the issues with the house. This can be avoided by the Seller giving the buyer a $500 at closing. If this is done, there is no liability to the Seller as to condition of the property unless specifically in the contract. If you took the credit then the issue becomes whether the inspector was negligence. Inspectors are required to be insured so I would contact your inspector and tell him that he should have advised you better on the roof. He will claim that he could not gain access due to the snow but he should have followed up or advised you to get it check once snow was removed. You can sue him but may only recoup what you paid him.


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