Could I have a case against the home inspector or previous home owners?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Could I have a case against the home inspector or previous home owners?

We purchased a home in Verbena, AL just over 3 years ago. The home inspector report came back with no issues. We just had an electrician out to our home for replacement of main fuse box due to excessive corrosion. He also inspected the attic and found around 17 electrical connections without junction boxes, surrounded by insulation. Clearly a major fire Hazzard. If my homeowner’s insurance company were to be aware of that, they would cancel me. Could we have a case?

Asked on February 12, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Previous homeowners--it depends on whether these were the kind of issue or conditions they were, or logically must have been, aware of. If any reasonable homeowner in their position would have known of these issues, then their failure to disclose them would be fraud and you could sue them for compensation, such as the cost to correct. On the other hand, if it's reasonable that they would not have known and you can't prove they did, you would not have a case--you must be able to prove they did know or reasonably must have known, since there is no fraud for failing to disclose something of which you were not aware.
2) Home inspector: this may well be negligence to have failed to find these problems, but before contemplating legal action, check the contract or agreement with them. Many such inspection contracts state that the most you can recover from the inspector in a lawsuit is the amount you paid for the inspection. Such a limitation on "damages" (compensation) is legal and enforceable, and if there is such a limitation in the agreement, it may not be worth suing the inspector.

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 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.

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