Q: Is a mold outbreak in a brand new "redone" basement means to sue in Maryland?
We purchased a home on july 2nd, 2019 closed on the home. The home was "as is" so the home orginally was listed for sale in january of this year it was taken off of the market a month later and apparently a 38,000 insurance claim was made and then the basement had been "redone" they relisted the house for sale in may and the basement was finished. I have pics before and after of the basement from different real estate websites. Visible mold is alllll over the entire basement now and the brand new carpet and drywall is ripped up/torn apart! We never got any info on the claim our real estate agent kind of pushed it aside as if it were no big deal. We are furious!
A: You need to review the facts with a lawyer, but the law does not prevent someone from selling a home with problems such as mold. By listing a home "as is" and selling it without concealing the facts, a seller can seek a buyer who wishes to undertake a repair project or a renovation. The mistake many sellers make is believing that home sales is still the caveat emptor of days gone by. Unless seller puts the buyer on notice that the home comes with no representations, and then tells no lies in the disclosures or disclaims rather than discloses, and then -- further -- does nothing to conceal a latent defect and tells no lies, revealing latent defects he knows about, seller may be liable for the condition of the premises regardless of including the words "as is" in the contract. However, where the sale is "as is" and the mold is visible and not concealed, because the walls are left open and the carpet remains exposed, you know what you are buying ... or you are too foolish to have a right to protection.
A: Nearly every sale should have a "walk through" of the Property immediately before settlement. This is often the day of settlement, or perhaps 24-48 hours beforehand. Any changes to the property between the contract period and closing are ideally noted at the walk-through and addressed prior to closing.
Things like visible mold, carpet ripped up and drywall torn would presumably be obvious.
If a buyer elects to go through with a closing despite concerns noted at the walk-through (or if for whatever reason doesn't bother to look at the property before closing) it is difficult to hold a seller responsible after the fact. There are some situations where a seller can be legally responsible for a home's condition after the closing (for example, if a seller hides a serious defect or where a seller breaks some promise made in the contract), but very generally speaking a seller can sell and a buyer can buy an existing home in excellent, good or horrible condition.
That being said, this online post offers general information and doesn't analyze the facts of a particular situation or offer any kind of legal advice. As a doctor needs to examine someone in person to make a medical diagnosis, a lawyer needs to have a two-way conversation and examine the relevant documents to draw a legal conclusion. If you have questions about a specific real estate transaction you may wish to sit down with a lawyer in your area to discuss.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.