Can I go after the previous owner for a leaking basement?

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Can I go after the previous owner for a leaking basement?

The house was purchased about 5 months ago and it had not rained in about 5 months. Also a septic tank was improperly installed.

Asked on January 23, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can only "go after" (i.e. sue) the prior owner IF you show that he committed fraud by misrepresenting (or lying about) latent (or not readily discrernable during the buyer's walk through or the home inspection) conditions. The conditions you describe appear to be latent; the issue, therefore, is whether the seller lied *and* you can prove it. You'd have to show that the conditions existed while he owned the home (e.g. the leaks did not start later) and that he either in fact knew or reasonably *must* have known (you'd logically expect any home owner in his position to know) of the problems but, knowing of them, deliberately concealed them. If you can show that, you should be able to successfully sue him for the cost to repair or correct the issues.


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