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bad home inspection - house leaks - do I have any recourse?

bad home inspection - house leaks - do I have any recourse?

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  #1  
Old 01-31-11, 07:51 PM
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bad home inspection - house leaks - do I have any recourse?

bought a house in May 2008. Home inspector gave it two thumbs up. within days of moving in I discovered the first water leak - bad wood siding and insufficient flashing above an enclosed porch. obvious evidence of previous repair attempt. 2 months later I discovered the other 5 (yes, 5) water leaks during a heavy rain storm. every wall on the house leaks. mostly due to rotted windows, cracked wood siding, deteriorated plastic window flashing, and a tear in the metal chimney flashing. I've spent a few thousand dollars fixing things so far, but 3 of the leaks remain and it will take many thousand more to fix those. Furthermore, at least 2 walls have mold (black growth behind the insulation where water has been getting in). I estimate $35k in total repars to fix everything, including removing siding, replacing wall sheathing and insulation, etc.

what legal recourse do i have? the inpsector won't even return my calls. previous sellers claim they had no knowledge of any water leaks. I've talked to a couple lawyers that have no interest in helping me. am I stuck with this?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-01-11, 03:44 AM
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Your only recourse on the inspector is up to the cost of the inspection, only. Beyond that, they are not liable for anything. Man, what a job! Of course it's hingsight, but only hire inspectors that come with qualifications and with referrals....those who have done at least a few hundred inspections. Recommendations from builders, real estate agents, etc. weigh in, too.
Lawyers won't take your case, because they can't win. Previous sellers are glad you bought it. So basically you are stuck with the repairs. I'd keep pressing the inspector and file against him in small claims court and with the BBB.
 
  #3  
Old 02-01-11, 06:56 AM
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The truth is, all too often an inspector is hired in connection with the real estate office to facilitate the transaction. THERE ARE great inspectors, but what realtor wants a long list of problems to muddy up the sale. Having said that, if an honest mistake occurs that is when the inspector is only liable up to his fee. But, if you suspect and can prove he turned a blind eye to the problems and deliberately omitted them, that is negligence and he could be liable for everything. The inspector should also be carrying "errors and omissions" so his insurance company may pay something if there is a reasonable risk he was at fault. If he is licensed, then the board may have a say as well. There are also "full disclosure laws which may be relevant in your state. If so, and the home owner may have signed off saying they had no knowledge of any problems, then the home owner may also be liable, again, if you can prove they did. A lot of if's, but a lot of money.

In the future, as chandler suggested, carefully select the inspector and have him/her working for YOUR interests.

Bud
 
  #4  
Old 02-01-11, 07:14 AM
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The truth is, all too often an inspector is hired in connection with the real estate office to facilitate the transaction.

Bingo. It's a poorly regulated service too often tied to real estate offices. They can hold up a sale, cause a seller to spend uneccessary thousands or miss serious issues all without any significant consequence.
 
  #5  
Old 02-01-11, 06:19 PM
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yeah the inspector was a friend of my realtor who was clearly brought in to make the deal go through. he claimed to have inspected 10,000 homes. knowing what I know now I could spot these problems a mile away, but at the time I knew nothing about homes, or siding, or flashing, or where to look for water stains, etc. I am an expert now.

question - is there a statute of limitations on this (in illinois?). if I did try to sue for gross negligence, am i too late? I've been in the house almost 3 years.

thanks for the replies.
 
  #6  
Old 02-02-11, 07:12 AM
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There probably is a statute of limitations but I don't know what it would be

In health care, it's two years so you very well could be past it at this point already
 
  #7  
Old 02-02-11, 08:58 AM
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The 10,000 homes should have been a clue that the guy was a liar. That's a home a day, every day, for almost 30 years.
 
  #8  
Old 02-02-11, 07:46 PM
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i do not know. but i would think that after 3 years = its your baby.
 
  #9  
Old 02-02-11, 08:04 PM
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Was the inspector even certified? Most locations now have a certification process predicated on testing and a specified number of inspections with reviewed reports.

Also, there are some groups that "certify" inspectors with little control since many inspectors are contractors with not enough work, so it is a good vehicle to use for contacts for future work, but the reputable national associations do not allow an inspector to be involved with contracting on a project and usually require multiple firms for referrals for observed problems.

One of the problems with homes inspections is that they are done for less than $400, referred by realtors and it is only an inspection by a generalist that is a guest in the home owned by someone else and cannot shut off certain systems because of the liability (stopping an oxygen generator, shutting down a computer that crashes or operating a temperature/relief valve of a water heater that fails later).

Many smart sellers hire the best and toughest inspector possible for a "pre-listing" inspection to prepare for a possible inspection by another home inspector than even cannot move storage items or furniture because of the high liability and insurance cost unless there is a state established liability limit.
 
  #10  
Old 02-02-11, 11:42 PM
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Your situation sounds a lot like ours. we rented a house and the LL showed us a Certificate of Occupancy, before we moved in. I assume that means the house is "safe" to occupy, but as soon as we moved in, we noticed stuff that wasn't "safe" at all!
We had water pouring down the walls of one bedroom, to the point, where there were puddles of water, in the MIDDLE of the floor!

He kept saying it was from the window leaking, but he tried to patch that window at least 3 times, to no avail.
then we had water pouring down the water in the kitchen, right over an electrical switch! My god, I was flaggerghast when I saw, that, and e-mailed that to the landlord, and he's done not a thing about it.
then we had water dripping from the ceiling in the hall, only about 4 feet from an overhead electrical light! This month, the cover for that light exploded over our heads, and fell into hundreds of glass shards on the floor!
I'm wondering too, jsut what my legal rights are.. if I have them at all!
Seems to me, if you are living in the U.S. you do have a right to stay alive! For a landlord to purposely refused to fix things that put your tenant in danger, seems highly illegal and unethical to me!
I've sent e-mails, texts, postcards, certified letter, half of which the LL didn't even BOTHER to read!
I'm wondering too.. I don't how comparable a renter's rights is to a home owners rights, as far as "certificates of occupancy" and things concerning inspectors, but I have to wonder, too, how qualified was that inspector that looked at this LL house, and yet, didn't even bother to notice, all these unsafe things! Lots of this stuff is breaking building codes.
Gosh, we got such a big streak of light, next to the door, where wind & cold air gets in, you can see it clearly, every day...there's a big gap that needs to be weatherized but the LL does nothing. We now paying over $120 for elec, when we got an oil furnace! That doesn't really make sense. Our normal elec bils in the winter, are usually only $60 or $70, but we got to turn the heat up to fend off all the cold air in the house, where the thermastat is!
I'd try to check your state laws Sky jumper. I doubt that 3 years is that long.... good luck. Hope you get the result you're seeking. Happy jumping too!
 
  #11  
Old 02-02-11, 11:52 PM
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May I ask a question? Don't licensed contractors know how 2 fix ceiling fans?

Originally Posted by Concretemasonry View Post
Was the inspector even certified? Most locations now have a certification process predicated on testing and a specified number of inspections with reviewed reports.

Also, there are some groups that "certify" inspectors with little control since many inspectors are contractors with not enough work, so it is a good vehicle to use for contacts for future work, but the reputable national associations do not allow an inspector to be involved with contracting on a project and usually require multiple firms for referrals for observed problems.

One of the problems with homes inspections is that they are done for less than $400, referred by realtors and it is only an inspection by a generalist that is a guest in the home owned by someone else and cannot shut off certain systems because of the liability (stopping an oxygen generator, shutting down a computer that crashes or operating a temperature/relief valve of a water heater that fails later).

Many smart sellers hire the best and toughest inspector possible for a "pre-listing" inspection to prepare for a possible inspection by another home inspector than even cannot move storage items or furniture because of the high liability and insurance cost unless there is a state established liability limit.
I personally don't know any other licensed contractors. Many many of my friends are carpenters, electricians, etc, so I know how stuff needs to be done to some extent.
This LL told me, before we moved in here, that he's a licensed contractor, but he doesn't seem to know how to fix a lot of stuff, including electrical stuff, & simple stuff, like a doorknob!
Don't they have to take some kind of training to get their licenses to be a licensed contractors? I mean, they are the ones who build houses, right? And this guy was planning on building a bunch of houses too, but if he cannot fix a doorknob, how is he going to build a house?
we are in the carolinas but it doesn't make sense to me, that this guy got away with doing all this stuff by not fixing things....
He had only bought the house too, about 6 weeks, I believe before he rented it out! I think that's kinda a stretch to put it mildly. We had to beg him literally to take all the wood that was piled up in the garage, out of there, so we could use it.There was so much stuff he wouldn't even do. We've looked at a pile of garbage with a big pole attached to this big 2 foot wad of concrete out of our LR window for the past 3 years!
And in his ad, it said there was a garage included with the house too.
 
  #12  
Old 02-02-11, 11:56 PM
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That sounds like gross negligence to me too. If he's an inspection, he's supposed to be pointing out errors or stuff about the house that demands fixing! Instead, he's turned a blind eye to this, wouldn't this be considered gross negligence?
I'm not a lawyer, but this seems highly unethical to me. Claiming you've done 10,000 homes and missing stuff a brand new home owner can spot himself, after only a few years.
Good luck sky jumper. Hope you win your case.
 
  #13  
Old 02-03-11, 03:44 AM
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You're hot, ain't ya?? Rightly so. Your legal right is probably to move if you feel the house is unsafe. General contractors do know about things, but keep in mind they don't "build" the houses. The subcontract the different phases to others.....ie. electricians, plumbers, framers, sheetrockers, cabinet makers. So even with their knowledge, they may not know how to change a light bulb themselves. However, he has a responsibility to ensure you have a safe habitable place to live. Emails are good. Certified mail is better. Face to face is best. Have him to visit the house and give your list of grievances to him, showing him where things are awry. Have him sign your copy. Keep it. You can also contact your local building authority to see if the house meets their occupancy requirements. I have no idea why he would show you a CO, unless he was trying to impress you to rent the place because he couldn't get anyone else to rent it.
Inspectors generally work for real estate people, as stated earlier. If you are buying a house, YOU hire an inspector, and let him know in no uncertain terms he works for you and must have your best interests at heart. Just because he has a good relationship with Joe at XYZ realty doesn't mean anything.
 
  #14  
Old 02-03-11, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
...General contractors do know about things, but keep in mind they don't "build" the houses. The subcontract the different phases to others.....ie. electricians, plumbers, framers, sheetrockers, cabinet makers...
As a licensed General Building Contractor (NM GB98 #87046) all I will say about the above is that it is one of those False Generalizations. The GC license does not include specialty trades like electrical and plumbing/HVAC. In order to do those types of work, specific licenses for those trades must also be qualified for. However, unless a subdivision or tract developer, it is common for the GC to have his own crew(s) for basic site prep, foundations, framing, roofing, and so on. We do all of that with only 5 damn good people.

Having said my piece on that topic, there isn't anything in this thread discussing Home Inspectors with which I can disagree.
 
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