Marquette, MI asked in Real Estate Law and Small Claims for Michigan

Q: First rain after closing on a house it leaks in 2 different locations. Disclosure statement said no leaks. Any recourse?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Hard to say for sure but bear in mind that 'stuff happens' and sometimes a basement that never leaked before starts due to something the seller had no control over. Did you modify landscaping or move heavy trucks etc on the lawn area around the foundation? Did it 'just' start? Maybe the seller had no notice of leakage. How serious was it? A trickle or a full on flood?

If you can PROVE the seller failed to disclose or even better actively tried to hide something, you may have a case, but the cost to litigate it and the difficulty in making it 'stick' need to be figured into the mix.

I'd suggest you consult with a local real estate attorney weigh the cost of repair against the cost of litigation, and make an informed decision on what the best course of action is. When buying an existing home there are few 'guarantees' other than the title guarantee that the house will be yours without any competing claims that make a large difference. Sometimes stuff breaks after the sale through no fault of the seller. Sometimes there is active misrepresentation.

Hard to know for sure which this is without details that are not appropriate in an open forum but your local attorney can help with.

-- 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

David Soble
David Soble
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Fraud is the legal action to be taken against a seller who knowingly and willfully disregards the truth of the home's condition prior to sale in order that a buyer relies upon these misleading statements. Your ability to maintain a successful action for fraud will be dependent on the seller's home disclosure, as well as the terms of the purchase agreement and the home inspection report.

Under Michigan law, a seller is not required to search for defects in a home when completing the disclosure. They are only required to provide a good faith disclosure about any information they know about a home's defects while they lived in the property.

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