If we are in the process of selling our house and during the inspection the wood floors were damaged, who is responsible?

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If we are in the process of selling our house and during the inspection the wood floors were damaged, who is responsible?

We accepted a contract on our house, during the inspections the buyer or their inspector dragged the refrigerator across the floor damaging the wood floors. They have since terminated the agreement. Prior to them backing out of the contract we told them of the damage. We told them that we will not release the escrow money until the floors are repaired. Who in TX is responsible the buyer, or their inspector?

Asked on March 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the inspector damaged the floor, then the inspector would certainly be liable for negligently damaging your property, and you may sue him or her for the cost of repair or replacement.

Whether the buyer has grounds to void (or get out of the contract) depends upon two things: 1) whether the contract included terms that would allow this; and (2) even if it didn't, how serious was the damage? If the damage is so serious that the buyers are no longer getting what they wanted to buy (e.g. say the house is $150k, and the floors would take $15k to repair; getting the house's value marked down by 10% would probably justify canceling the contract). For lesser damage, the appropriate remedy--again, in the absence of some inspection or other contingency that allows the buyer to cancel in the event of damage--the appropriate remedy is probably a price reduction, credit, etc.


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