What are my options if the house we just moved into did not have the requested repairs made?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my options if the house we just moved into did not have the requested repairs made?

We went into contract on a house and during the inspection the sewer drain backed up, we told the buyer in our request to remedy that it must be fixed/repaired and unclogged. They had someone come out to snake it but that was it. No camera was used to find the issue. We moved into the house and the first morning the sewer line backed up again. We called the seller and he sent the same plumber back out. They snaked the line again. It backed up again. The initial plumber said he did not have a camera to locate problem and another person would need to be called in. A week or so later someone came in and found the issue. The seller agreed to have the sewer line replaced. About another week or so went by until they did the job, upon replacing the sewer line the dug right through electrical lines that went to the garage. I called the seller and told him about the electrical being cut. He said he would have the electrican come out to do the job, to date we still do not have a date that the electrican will be out to fix it. This is now going on 6 weeks since we’ve moved into the house. This was all supposed to be fixed before we moved in. Is there anything I can do legally?

Asked on February 17, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

if you only had oral (also called verbal) agreements prior to closing on the house, they would most likely be unenforceable--when there is a written contract (the contract of sale), generally, any oral agreements are subsumed into it and only the written terms survive and are enforceable. If you had a written agreemet with the seller, pre-closing, to make the repairs--not just your written request to them, but their written agreement to do so--you should be able to enforce that in court if necessary, through a breach of contract suit.
Any promises made post closing are likely enforceable, whether oral or in writing, unless you gave them some "consideration", or something of value, for the promise. That's because promises without consideration are unenforceable as a general rule, and post-closing, since you're already gone through with the sale, buying the house no longer provides consideration--you've already bought it.
If a contract who did any work was negligent, or careless, and caused damage--like severing an electrical line--you may be able to sue that contractor, based on their negligence, for the cost to correct or repair.

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