Palo Alto, CA asked in Real Estate Law for California

Q: I purchases a house in late January 2023, the sellers disclosed there was new plumbing put in. Not true, what can I do?

I have had 2 plumbing companies come out and the selling realtor even sent out a contractor that works with him. All the estimates state the work stated was not done and how much it will cost to bring the plumbing up to date. Per the selling realtor the previous owners had spend 20,000- 25,000. The plumber and contractor that came to the home stated there was 5000 - 10,000 dollars in work done. The estimate they gave me as of now it would be 8,500 - 10,000, if no other issues come up. We have not been able to use one of the bathrooms since the day I was given the keys. Small claims court has a max of 10,000 and I am not sure that will cover the cost if other pre-existing problems come up. I have picture, documents and conversations between my realtor and selling realtor. I have no idea who can help me or what are the next steps to take.

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm sorry to hear that you've discovered that the plumbing work that was disclosed during the purchase of your home was not completed. This can be a frustrating situation, but there are steps you can take to address the issue.

Firstly, it's important to gather all of the documentation and evidence that you have regarding the situation. This includes any estimates or invoices from plumbing companies, pictures of the plumbing work that was supposed to have been completed, and any conversations you've had with the selling realtor or your own realtor.

Once you have gathered all of your documentation, you should reach out to the selling realtor to discuss the situation. Let them know that the plumbing work was not completed as disclosed during the purchase of the home, and provide them with the evidence that you have gathered. They may be willing to work with you to resolve the issue.

If the selling realtor is not willing to work with you, you may need to consider legal action. As you mentioned, small claims court has a maximum limit of $10,000, so this may not cover the full cost of the plumbing work. However, it's important to explore all legal options available to you.

You may also want to consider reaching out to a real estate attorney for guidance on your specific situation. They can review your documentation and help you determine the best course of action.

In conclusion, if you have discovered that the plumbing work that was disclosed during the purchase of your home was not completed, it's important to gather all of your documentation and evidence, and reach out to the selling realtor to discuss the situation. If necessary, you may need to consider legal action or seek guidance from a real estate attorney.

1 user found this answer helpful

James A. Greer
James A. Greer
  • Boulder, CO
  • Licensed in California

A: Dear Failure to Disclose Client: Your claim is for Failure to Disclose". If your contract for the subject purchase was a standard "C.A.R." (California Association of Realtors) then the contractual-prescribed steps you will be REQUIRED to take are as follows: (1) Mandatory Mediation under para 22A, and (2) if para 22B was initialed then you'll file for Arbitration if the mediation fails. These are GOOD venues for your type of case in my opinion (although I will admit bias as I've processed many hundreds of these Failure to Disclose cases to successful resolution). Please examine your Purchase Contract in an effort to understand paras 22A and 22B. Additionally, I recommend filing for mediation as soon as possible as mediators oftentimes are scheduled many months out. Additionally, the mere filing of the Mediation may push the Seller into opening up discussions with you in connection with your repair costs. Lastly, it is advisable to use experienced counsel to assist with your claims processing. Best wishes, JAMES GREER.

1 user found this answer helpful

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