If I bought a new home going on 3 months ago but just discovered that there is a possibly huge problem with the pipes leading to the septic tank, what can I do?

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If I bought a new home going on 3 months ago but just discovered that there is a possibly huge problem with the pipes leading to the septic tank, what can I do?

Asked on October 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF the problem is one that the previous owner knew about or reasonably must have known about i.e. based on the perceivable factual evidence, an owner in his/her position must logically have known about the problem but failed to disclose, the owner may well have committed fraud. Fraud is intentionaly misrepresenting or lying about something material or important, to induce you to enter into the transaction or buy the house, and it was reasonable for you to rely upon that misrepresentation. If so, you may be able to recover compensation, such as repair costs, from the former owner.
However, if there is no reason to think that the owner did or necessarily must have known, he or she would not be liable unless he/she gave some sort of written warranty or guaranty liability for a problem like this is based on nondisclosure of a known but hidden from a buyer not readily seen on inspection issue, so with no knowledge of the problem, the seller is not resonsible or liable.


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