If our 9 year-old house has multiple cracks in the foundation,do we have anylegal recourse?

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If our 9 year-old house has multiple cracks in the foundation,do we have anylegal recourse?

We bought our house new. It was built on a concrete slab. The foundation has cracked in multiple places, some of them more like breaks than cracks. There is one crack across the entire house that you can feel under the carpet, and that has caused the flooring in the kitchen to crack and discolor. There is another crack at the front door, through the entry way that breaks off and goes through one of the bathrooms. There are also multiple, large cracks in the walls around the back door and kitchen area. I don’t know if the house would pass inspection if we wanted to sell.

Asked on August 27, 2010 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with an attorney. Here are the issues:

1) If the cracks are due to subsurface subsidience, settling, ground water, etc., there would be no recourse. Those are unfortuante natural events.

2) If the cracks were due to substandard materials, poor construction, and/or bad design, then you may have recourse. However, a large stumbling block is the "statute of limitations," or time to sue. 9 years would normally be past the statute for most causes of action relating to this. However, sometimes the statute of limitations can be "tolled" (held in abeyance) for a period of time, such as until the problems were actually visible or discoverable by the owners.

An attorney can evaluate your situation and determine if you might have a cause of action, and also whether you are still within the period to bring a lawsuit. Good luck.


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