Is the previous owner responsible for repairs after closing

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Is the previous owner responsible for repairs after closing

I bought a condo and we had a home inspection performed. The owner

repaired a non working outlet. When I came to move in my stuff I tried using

the light switch in both bedrooms with no results, They didn’t seem to work

anything. I removed the cover and found that no power is going to the switches

in either bedroom. The previous owner lived in the condo for over 20 years and had numerous renovations done over that time. I asked the seller’s realtor to speak to her client about assistance in the cost of repairs since she told me that she would have made the repairs if she knew about them. Now she knows and I feel that she knew about the situation but may have forgotten. I just want it fixed. How do I proceed?

Asked on June 26, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The seller is liable if--but only if--she knew about the problem or logically, under the circumstances, must have known but despite knowing of it, failed to disclose it. (That is fraud: the failure to disclose a known condition or problem.) Based on what you write, the seller most likely or logically did know, so if you sued her for the cost to repair the switches, etc., you would have a good chance of winning: a court would likely believe that based on how long she lived there, that she must have known. The bad news is, if she won't pay voluntarily, you would have to sue (a lawsuit is the only way to compel payment), and it is debatable whether it is worth the time, effort, and cost of a lawsuit for minor electrical work.


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