storm damage occurred while previous owners lived in townhouse. Claim opened after they moved who is responsible

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storm damage occurred while previous owners lived in townhouse. Claim opened after they moved who is responsible

Claim opened after I purchased the townhouse and within a year of when the damage
occurred. The roof was inspected and a decision was made to replace the roof.
All homeowners were billed 2000.00 dollars to submit to homeowners insurance.
My homeowners denied my claim stating I did not live in the house at the time the
damage occurred so therefore my homeowners would not cover this. Are the
previous homeowner responsible and can I sent the bill to them to submit to their
homeowners insurance.

Asked on February 20, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) Your homeowner's insurer is correct: if you did not live in the house when the damage occured, they do not cover this. Insurance only covers damage occuring when the policy was in place.
2) IF the storm damage was not obvious and the seller hid it from you (i.e.  you could not see it when you or your inspector viewed the home, and the seller failed to disclose it), you could sue the seller based on fraud for any amounts or costs you incur. A lawsuit would be the only may to make them pay, if they don't voluntarily offer compensaton. You would sue the sellerm, not his/her insurer. 
But if you were aware of the damage but bought the house anyway, the seller is not liable and you are responsible for the costs. When you buy a house with knowledge of damage or costs associated with it, you but it subject to that damage or those costs.


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