Asked in Real Estate Law and Small Claims for Michigan

Q: Previous sellers didn't disclose that well is not performing to standard and new well is needed. Can I ask them to pay?

Ottawa County requires a well/septic evaluation from Health Department. My real estate agent told me that they would inspect the well. They only inspected water quality and not well itself. Water results were not ideal with Chloride and sodium, but passed.

After moving into home, son was using outside water for 10 minutes and we tried to use water in kitchen with nothing. I called well company out. He inspected the well bladder, said looked like someone messed with settings, but in addition that the well was not to standard and was "not good." Essentially quoted $3K for well that can fulfill well standards.

Owners lived on property for 14 years, with same issue, per well guy. They didn't bother to disclose that you cant even use two water sources at one time.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: What WAS disclosed? Did you have a legal review of the purchase contract before the sale? There are far too many 'unknowns' here to provide a definite answer, but in general the 'buyer beware' rule applies in Michigan.

So long as the failure to disclose was just that -- a failure -- and not a misleading statement, you likely can't complain too much. It sounds like you may have had 'inspection contingencies' but if the inspection didn't include water capacity and only included water quality, they complied with the requirement.

I like to tell people that inspections are fine, but unless you take 5-10 minutes to run the shower and kitchen sink and outdoor faucet at the same time you flush the toilet you're never really going to know what the capacity ACTUALLY is and that should be part of the 'final checklist' before you make an offer on a house. That an having an attorney review everything for you to raise issues concerning the legal side of things (this is more practical than legal!) you may or may not have considered.

And get the seller to sign an appropriately detailed disclosure statement. Ideally there may be a statement to the effect of 'no issues with the water system' in that disclosure that you could hang your hat on here.

Get a local lawyer to review everything you signed including the closing paperwork, and go from there

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

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