Is there any legal recourse for when a seller does not disclose a bathtub install without a permit?

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Is there any legal recourse for when a seller does not disclose a bathtub install without a permit?

I bought a house in California a year ago. After
calling a home warranty about a plumbing
issue, I discovered the bathtub was improperly
installed. The cost is 3800 and the warranty
refuses to pay. The plumber stated there was
an illegal drain line that was not up to code.
Looking back at the documents, the seller did
not disclose this during escrow. When we
mentioned this to the seller she said the tub
was installed right before listing and was never
used. Is the seller legally required to help pay
for the fix as she had it installed and failed to
tell me about it?

Asked on November 7, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she is legally obligated to disclose "latent" issues--or issues not readily visible to a buyer, like   a lack of permitting (and the accompanying non-code problems--which she is, or reasonably (i.e. logically) should be, aware of. She hired the plumber; she would know whether a permit was applied for and obtained; therefore, she had an obligation to disclose this. Her failure to disclose such a known issue may constitute fraud and provide grounds to sue her for the costs you incur.


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