Fostoria, OH asked in Land Use & Zoning, Lemon Law, Real Estate Law and Small Claims for Ohio

Q: my sister bought a house and a few months later had to shellout $8000 for a new roof. Can she sue the previous owner?

The previous owner told her and listed in his selling ad that the roof was pretty much new (with in the last 5 years). He also told her he only had to replace a few shingles. When the heavy rain storm that flooded her city, she flooded. Water came up through the floorboards, and her roof leaked all over. The contractor she hired, told her the roof was the original roof on the house. Her house is listed as built in the 1960's. She had to completely replace an outside wall, in a bedroom, due to the roof leaking as well. She has spent roughly $9500 in damages since she bought her home. She also just found out that her home as well as 2 others have the same sewer line out to the road.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: Anyone can sue anybody for anything. But litigation is expensive, and the cost of litigation to prove fraud, could be nearly what she is claiming in damages, and the seller would not have to pay her attorney fees even if she wins. And she could lose - if a court determined that she should have gotten a more thorough inspection of a 1960s vintage home. The court could say she should have had a roof inspection that could have told her it was the original roof. The seller could deny telling her anything about the roof. Every buyer should get good inspections before buying. She should use the Find a Lawyer tab to consult a local real estate litigation attorney.

Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Youngstown, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: I agree with Joseph Jaap, but in your factual recitation you stated that the ad stated that the roof was less than five years old. There may be an "as is" clause, or a provision that requires an inspection or you waive what an inspection would have revealed, but the ad stating less than five years may be sufficient evidence of fraud.

Not only is litigation expensive, but you should look to see whether the defendant is collectible. Getting a judgment is only a portion of your concern. You must also collect.

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