Is this ethical?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is this ethical?

I recently bought a home. We had a inspection and it was determined that the addition they added needed a new roof roughly 900 sq. ft. Sellers received a bid for roof for $1,000 and we received 2 bids for $1800 and $1750 they agreed they would go half and write us a check at closing for $1350 which we accepted. Closing went by and we received check and cashed it and everything was good to go. I recieved a phone call from my realtors three days after we closed that the seller’s agents assistant told the roofer who did the bid for them to go ahead with the roof. So that would have been when the sellers still owned the house about 15 days ago. Now the seller’s realtor is saying that we need to pay the roofer because it is fixed and we have no idea what is going on just that we have to pay this. I have no problem paying for the roof that was the plan from the get go but she broke the contract and we aren’t just going to py something we have not see any invoice or warranty and my husband is livid because the roofer’s wife works with seller’s agent. Is this even ethical?

Asked on August 25, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is not legal: you cannot be required to pay for work which you did not authorize, and the agent had no authority to obligate or commit you to this work, or authorize it on your behalf. Inform the agent that you will not pay and that they need to, since *they* (the agent) approved the work; tell them also that if they continue to try to get money from you for work you never authorized, you will not only not pay, but you will file a complaint with the realtor licensing board, and in that complaint not just discuss that you never approved the work, but also explain the conflict of interest involving the roofer's wife and the agent. Remember: you can only be held liable for work when you instruct someone to do it or consent/agree to have it done.

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