Q: Can I make the previous owner of my house pay for undisclosed moisture issues in crawlspace?
I recently purchased a home and decided to forgo a home inspection. The sellers did not disclose any foundation issues and a big selling point was that the basement was waterproofed. Upon moving in, we learned that part of the house is above a dirt crawlspace with no vapor barrier. One of the rooms above that crawlspace has a seriously buckled hardwood floor. During the showing, they had a futon and a rug over it. I find it difficult to believe that they didn't know there were moisture issues at play. Can we make them pay for repairs or are we screwed because we didn't get an inspection?
A: It is possible but difficult, especially if a home inspection would have uncovered the defect. The seller could credibly argue that the property was sold "as is" and that a reasonable home inspector would have inspected the crawl space and looked under the rug. You will need to determine whether the investment of 10s of thousands of dollars is worth making the seller's pay.
The purchase agreement may have a provision which states that the house is purchased "as is" if an inspection is not conducted.
However, if a seller conceals items, then the lack of an inspection would not result in an "as is" purchase. A seller cannot conceal a defect and then argues that you should have found it upon an inspection.
The issue may come down to whether placing a rug and a futon over the area is concealing the defect.
Kelly A Rochotte agrees with this answer
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