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  1. #1
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    Suing a home inspector?

    Hi all. I am wondering if anyone has any experience in mediating problems with home inspectors. I bought a house that is having so many problems that should have been caught by the inspector that we are considering suing him. Some things he didn't catch are:

    non-working 3 way switches
    master shower pan leaking
    a/c unit leaking
    furnace leaking
    wet basement
    rotting sink base

    the list goes on and on. I'm just wondering if it's better to go after the inspector or the previous owner at this point. Anyone who has ever been involved in this, please let me know your thoughts. I hate the idea of suing someone, but don't see another choice at this point. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    There are lots of things that a home inspector can't be aware of when they inspect a home.

    1. For instance, if the temperature was below 65 deg the day the inspection was performed, the AC unit cannot be run at this low of temp and therefore any leaks would not of been found.

    2. If it wasn't raining the day of the inspection, or the day before, leaks in the basement would not of been found. Especially if they were from behind any walls that were built or any storage that was in place.

    3. Threee way switch problems are really easy to fix and not worth your money suing over.

    4. If the rot in the sink base was obvious, then this should of been caught, but if it was covered up with stuff under the sink at the time of the inspection, then it wouldn't of been found. An inspector is not obligated to move anything in the house to perform the inspection.

    5. How is the furnace leaking? CO gas? Need more details on this one. Plus, what is the age of the furnace. Look at the inspection report and see what comments were made concering the furnace. If it's greater than 15 years old then a comment should of been made that it's reached the end of it's useful life.

    6. The inspector should of placed a drain cover over the shower drain and ran the water to test for leaks. If it was a really slow leak then it would take some time for it to appear in the cieling, maybe more time than what the inpsection took, in this case it's hard to hold him liable.

    The disclosure forms filled out by the seller should of listed all the problems with the home. Look over the list, if there are things on there that have failed, and the seller said it was all ok, then they are liable. But, you have to prove that they knew about it and committed fraud when filling out the paperwork.

    Look over the inspection report really well to see what area's were highlighted as problems.

    One last thing, what state are you in? Home inspectors aren't licensed in every state and the rules are different.

  3. #3
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    Im in the same boat...how can a home inspector miss rotten window sashes...??

    Anybody know of any recourse for this??

  4. #4
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    In most areas the seller is required to provide a limited warranty for undisclosed problems for a short time. Generally the mortgage companies require the seller to provide a 90 or 180 day warranty insurance.

    I would begin by checking the purchase agreement thoroughly to see if you have that insurance protection. Undisclosed rotting windows should certainly be covered.

  5. #5
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    It can be hard to pin down who is to blame for your troubles. Most inspectors probably have some type of "legalese" in the contact that gets them out of most problems. When you hire one, you are really only buying an "educated" opinion. You as the buyer also have some responsibility for things that are obvious, this is why most banks and real estate companies make you sign off on a final "walk-thru" before the closing.

    One thing comes to mind, when I bought my first house, my real-estate agent recommend some cut-rate guy he knew. I don't think he was trying to pull a fast one on me, but he was basically just a salesman who would not get his commission until after I closed. (and signed off on the inspection) To him, this was just a formality. I decided to hire someone I knew and trusted.

    Kactuskid makes a good point, take a look at the disclosure statement that was filled out by the seller. The problems with the shower, wet basement and the furnace seem to be something the previous owner should have known about. I'm not sure the other problems will be covered unless the previous owner specifically stated there was nothing wrong with them. Your real estate agent may be able to help you contact the previous owner with your complaint. Take lots of pictures, and consider getting written repair estimates in case you have to take him to court.

    leone184

  6. #6
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    I'm in the same boat. Purchased my first home, don't know a lot about home repair, our home inspector "missed" the fact that the roof is below minimum grade for shingles, and now this roof, installed only 3 months before I purchased the home (1 year ago) is leaking and not covered by insurance due to faulty construction.

    In my home inspection contract, I stupidly signed a waiver releasing him from liability, but that provision doesn't cover gross negligence.

    I asked for his help in replacing the roof, and threatened to turn him over to the Better Business Bureau, and he's threatened to sue me if I pursue any action against him.

  7. #7
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    If the roof was installed shortly before your purchase and it is not up to specifications for a shingle roof, the liability is not with the home inspector, it is with the seller and the roof installer.

  8. #8
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    Well, of course there are good inspectors and bad ones. If you pay about $200 to $300 and get about an hour and a half, you get what you pay for. Most inspection companies have a ton of "outs" and disclaimers written into the contract. And in their defense, strictly speaking they are not allowed to move things, for example all the stuff inside the sink base; they cannot peel back the carpet to look at the subfloor. Etc. They probably should be poking enough to catch a rotted sash. On the roof, they can spot the number of layers, generally look at the condition of flashing and soffits.

    Check with legal counsel about whether you have recourse against the inspector. You might have recourse against the homeowner if they knew about material defects and did not disclose. Proving what they knew is difficult. A new roof should have a warranty from the installer, but it may not transfer to the new owner.

    Lots of issues here. Good topic for the legal call-in show Handel-on-the-law ( AM640KFI, and nationally syndicated. Also handelonthelaw.com)

  9. #9
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    Hi all,

    I moved into my home for 3 months. Two weeks ago, there were several days of rain. Started to see living room ceiling dripping water. I had always wondered why a few areas of ceiling appear to be patched, and a growing crack. now I know why. We went up to the roof and found a completely broken-in-half concrete tile that has evidence of "glued" together before. Another roof inspector today could point it out easily when he just got up there.

    I put a tarp cover and secure with several bricks temporarily. I don't see any more leakage last two days of rain.

    The house inspection report does not say anything about patched ceiling, and roof report does not say anthing about two broken yet glued tiles. It does say broken tiles.

    Should I go after the inspectors? thanks

  10. #10
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    Ditto!

    I've been in my new home for 6 months now and with the rain we have been having in Denver the past month, I am getting leaks in a back extension of my home.

    I've had two roofers and my insurance inspector up there and all have said the same thing: The back extension is not roofed to code! Either previous owners or even before them - have used asphalt shingles on a 'flat' roof - not only that, they are not 'off-set' and aligned in rows. There is also
    a pretty sizeable hole/patch right in the center of the roof that would have been visible to my home inspectors!

    The house was a fix and flip - more like a slap and dash.
    I can't believe the home inspectors I hired didn't inform me of such obvious mistakes/problems with the extension roof!!!

    There is also visible severe hail damage to the main roof of the house and the garage - again, visible and not reported by the home inspectors!

    So where am I at now? I am having the entire roof of the house, garage and extension replaced to the tune of around $8000 - Which on the part of the home inspectors had they been a bit more agressive and thorough in their inspection, I would have asked for a price reduction to accommodate the repairs when I bought the home.

    I can't stand the thought of giving lawyers money - but my biggest thing is holding them accountable for such an obvious oversight. The disclosure from the previous owners states - condition of roof: Don't know - so I'm sure I can't go back to them - although I am sure they were aware of the problems.

    It's a mess and I'm so frustrated with people right now. Had to share and would love to hear any comments - and maybe some success stories too.

    Happy home owning y'all....
    it's a labour of love.

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