What are my rights as a buyer if the seller did not disclose a bad well?

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2012

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What are my rights as a buyer if the seller did not disclose a bad well?

Seller had several complaints that house smelled bad, they put a water purification system in. We purchased house, seller had well and septic tested – results satisfactory. We’ve now lived here 6 weeks, the water shut off periodically and was dirty. Called in a specialist, the well has no water in it anymore. Now, we have to spend thousands of dollars to drill much deeper. Do we have any recourse at all?

Asked on June 19, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether 1) the well was bad before the home sale, or if something happened to it afterwards, and 2) if the well was bad before the sale, did the seller know of the problem (or at least reasonably should have known--that is, any person in seller's position would ordinarily be expected to know). If the problem existed pre-sale and the seller knew of it or should have known of it but failed to disclose it, you may have a cause of action or legal claim. On the other hand, if the seller did not know of the problem, he would not be liable for misrepresenting (or lying about, including by omission) it...and if the problem only came about after the sale, he also would not be liable.

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