What is out recourse if we discovered our double-decker deck is unpermitted?

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What is out recourse if we discovered our double-decker deck is unpermitted?

We hired a licensed and bonded foundation repair company to put new footings under our sagging deck – a recently purchased home. After they cut all the old footings out, and put the porch up on jacks, the company pulled the plug on the project claiming that the city did not approve their design and we had to wait for another engineer’s design. We also learned the house was involved in a landslide 10 days ago, something which is not readily available to the general public by the city but our contractor managed to find it. Then the city told us that the entire deck was not permitted. This was not disclosed by the seller, and now we are looking at more than 10K in costs to do a feasibility study, deck design and the city is even threatening to halt the project entirely. Meanwhile our deck is in shambles and our new home looks like a junkyard for months now. What can we do?

Asked on June 26, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If you bought the home recently, you may be able to sue the seller's for fraud if they knew, or under the circumstances of them living there and any work done on the deck, logically must have known, that the deck was unpermitted. Sellers have an obligation to disclose material, or important, issues known to them but which are not readily apparent to a buyer--that the deck was not permitted would be such an issue. If the seller's knew but failed to disclose, you may be able to recover your costs to bring the deck into compliance.


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