Is there anything action we can take against the previous homeowners of our house if they failed to disclose a water problem in the basement?

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Is there anything action we can take against the previous homeowners of our house if they failed to disclose a water problem in the basement?

We bought a 9 year old home 1 1/2 years ago and have had problems with water in the basement 2 years in a row. The previous homeowners did not disclose any issues with water but several contractors have told us that they probably had issues as well. We are still working on repairs and have already put over 20K into improving the egress windows, tiling and grade/landscape to try to keep water away from the foundation.

Asked on June 15, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Disclosure of a defective condition on real estate is regulated by state law. These laws typically require that potential buyers be told all material facts about the condition of a property for sale. Additionally, a buyer and seller of real estate have a contractual relationship so it's the terms of the contract that also determines the rights of the buyer and seller. Accordingly, you should carefully review the terms of your purchase and sale agreement.

However, you will first need to prove that the seller had knowledge of the water problem. This will be a matter for the court to decide based on all the facts and circumstances presented.

Note: It is important whether or not you had a home inspection performed and whether that inspection revealed any problems.

At this point, you should consult directly with a real estate attorney in your area. They can best advise as to your rights and potential remedies.


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