Who is responsible for repair or replacement in a house that has just been sold but the owner still hasn’t moved out?

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Who is responsible for repair or replacement in a house that has just been sold but the owner still hasn’t moved out?

I sold our home and have had the closing. I have 7 days to be out of the house. I noticed 3 days after the closing that roof had a leak.

Asked on April 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no single answer to this question, since it depends on the circumstances. Here are factors to consider:

1) Generally speaking, the risk of loss--including having to repair damage--rests with the houses owner. If the closing has occured, that would be the buyer.

2) If someone residing in the house caused or contributed to the leak, he or she would be liable.

3) If the seller knew of the leak or of a condition which would cause the leak and did not disclose it, he or she might be liable under a "fraud" theory.

4) Finally, risk can be apportioned by contract, so the parties could have agree to put the risk on one or the other or share costs--if they did contract about risk and repair, the contractual terms will govern.


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