Did the seller have to tell us that the main sewer drain backs up every few weeks if you put anything at all in it?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Did the seller have to tell us that the main sewer drain backs up every few weeks if you put anything at all in it?

We bought our house 3 years ago. We are first-time home buyers so had no idea what to do or expect. Within a month of living here we had to have the main sewer cleaned out. We ad to have it done again a few months later, again and again. We finally couldn’t put any toilet paper or anything at all down there so we pretty much couldn’t use our toilets normally. It’s very embarrassing when people visit, not to mention that it’s disgusting to have to bag up used paper and dispose of it. We paid $100,000 for this place. The previous owners lived here for 15 years so obviously they knew about it. Can we sue or somehow make them have it fixed?

Asked on January 4, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue them. When the seller is aware, or under the circumstances logically must have been aware (as someone living there for 15 years would been aware) of a material (significant) problem not readily obvious to a buyer (like frequent sewer back-ups), they have a duty to disclose that problem. A failure to disclose the problem would be fraud. Fraud would provide a basis to sue for the cost to correct the problem (e.g. have a new sewer line installed).

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