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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 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.


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