Negligent Non-disclosure? - Posted by NMI

Posted by Sailor on August 26, 2007 at 14:49:05:

I’m sorry you are having to go through this, & I hope your attorney gets on this right away for you. This is something that going to affect the value of your property, if for no other reason than you w/have to disclose the history to any new buyer.

I would look very carefully @ your paperwork to see if there is any sort of disclosure that you didn’t catch originally. Sometimes folks sign so many things @ once when buying a house that they miss the significance of some of the fine print. I have seen Califonria buyers sign acknowledgments of the presence of multiple earthquake faults beneath their homes w/out realizing the eventual consequences.

Time is of the essence if you do have a legal case, so if your attorney does not proceed quickly you may have to search further. I would definitely give any potential case to someone who has good knowledge of this field & has handled similar situations. A general practitioner or someone who does not specialize in RE is not going to be able to get what you need.

In the meantime, I’d poke around the county bldg dept & see what you can find out. I’d bring some chocolate doughnuts & make a friend or two. I’d also be researching all the principals & contractors who ever had anything to do w/the property. There may be a legal history. Betcha there might be other properties involved, as an underground stream can be lengthy. Neighbors can be a wealth of info. Note that if there was an agent who knew the history of the property & failed to disclose you may have recourse there. Good luck, & do keep us posted.


Negligent Non-disclosure? - Posted by NMI

Posted by NMI on August 26, 2007 at 10:22:09:

I live in Ohio.

I bought a home around 8 months ago at the end of 2006.

A couple of months after moving in, my wife and I discovered that there was previously a home standing where our home now sits.

This previous home was built around 2000 but collapsed during construction because of a faulty foundation. Actually, it was the underground stream running under the lot that contributed to that faulty foundation.

The home we bought was completed near the end of 2005 and we bought it near the end of 2006. (It wasn’t built for us but we are the first owners).

It was never disclosed (by the builder, his agent nor our agent… all of whom knew about it) to us that there was a house that collapsed on the lot nor was it disclosed that there is an underground stream running under our lot. If we had known that, we probably would NOT have bought the house, or, at the very least, done more of an investigation (i.e. have a structural engineer or geological tech look at soil samples) on the home than just the general inspection we had done by a professional inspector.

We knew the home sat empty for a year before we bought that but just attributed that to the fact that it was originally overpriced by $50,000 and there wasn’t any landscaping to speak of to give it nice curb appeal (in addition to the slow market). Now we feel that it’s probably because most agents in the area probably steered their clients away from the home.

There is a 20 year warranty on the foundation, but it seems to me the warranty is good as long as the company that put in the foundation stays in business. If we have problems in like 5 years and they’ve gone belly up, we’re screwed.

We’ve recently spoken with a pretty good attorney who said it may be “Negligent Non-disclosure” but would research it more thoroughly.

However, I just wanted to get some opinions from others who may have dealt with something similar.

This is our first house and we were extremely excited upon moving in. Upon learning of the situation, we’ve become a bit deflated and are constantly looking for signs of extreme settling. BTW, the basement was completely finished before we bought it which makes looking for foundation problems internally that much more difficult.

Anyway, any beneficial thoughts are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Negligent Non-disclosure? - Posted by Rich-CA

Posted by Rich-CA on August 27, 2007 at 11:22:15:

More important that the attorney since you already own the house: get a copy of the plans from the city/county planning office (they will have to file plans for drainage and for the foundation work) and then get an engineer to go over them and tell you if they have taken care of the problem (diverted the stream, put in adequate drainage, and so on.

With a professional opinion of the work done, then you may want to contact an attorney but be aware that it can get expensive chasing a seller through the courts.