Do we have grounds for legal action if we purchased a home not even 2 months ago and the basement has flooded twice already?

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Do we have grounds for legal action if we purchased a home not even 2 months ago and the basement has flooded twice already?

The home is not in a flood zone and the sellers never disclosed any information about previous or potential flooding anywhere on or in the property.

Asked on June 23, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether the 1) the condition (flooding) existed prior to your purchase of the home or developed later (based on what you write, it is likely it pre-existed); and 2) if it did pre-exist, whether the sellers were in fact aware of it. If there were aware of a serious, recurrent problem and failed to disclose it, they may have committed fraud, and you may have grounds to sue them for compensation, such as the cost to take remedial measures (e.g. french drains?). However, if they were not aware--for example, you have had heavier storms than previously, so they did not have flooding; or they did use or occupy the basement and so may not have known what happened--they would not be liable. Their knowledge at the time of sale if the critical factor.


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