What rights do we have as a purchaser of a home on a land contractif the septic system failed?

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What rights do we have as a purchaser of a home on a land contractif the septic system failed?

We were told the owner did not know where the septic was (he lived here). It flooded our side yard  black standing water). Now it comes into our home through the shower drains and sink drains when laundry is done. Toilets are black. We’re pretty sure the water is now in basement and roaches are coming in. I have killed 3. The water is also going into the corn filed next to our yard. Our dog was ill most likely due to drinking the water. We have a $400 vet bill. We have 6 children and they cannot go outside to play.

Asked on June 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While it's certainly worth discussing the matter with a real estate attorney, who can evaluate the situation in detail, there is a reasonable chance you do not have recourse unless the owner lied or misrepresented to you in some fashion--e.g. affirmatively represented that the system was new, recently cleaned out, in good working order, etc. However, if he didn't make any representations such as that--and thge fact that he did not know where the septic was is (a) plausible, if he did not install it; and b) not directly germane to its condition--then he is probably not liable. A home seller does not generally warranty or guaranty the home to its buyers.


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