Q: I sold my home in 2001. All plans for the home including septic system were handed over to the new buyers. The septic system passed the inspection and they received the documentation.
They had their own inspector inspect the house. The sales contract stipulated that the house was being sold ‘as is’.
Five years after we closed, the buyers say the septic cover is under a porch and they want $55,000 to remove the porch and erect a new one. Plus, they want me to pay them more cash to recover any monies they might lose when they sell the house.
A: I think this sort of bad buyer behavior is outrageous. I hardly know where to start.
If you signed a contract that said the home was being sold “as is” and the buyers had someone inspect it, and you fully disclosed the septic tank situation, it’s difficult to see how the buyers can come back now, five years later, to say “It’s your fault. Pay me.” Unless you just write a check (and I wouldn’t), they’ll have to sue you for damages. What are they suing you for? You disclosed the system, and they had it inspected. It passed inspection. You sold “as is.”
In addition, the transaction happened five years ago. In many states, the statute of limitations would have already expired, so they could not sue you for damages. The case would simply be dismissed.
Unfortunately, anyone can sue anyone for almost any reason. That doesn’t mean they’ll win in court, but it might mean a long, drawn out, expensive battle. To make sure you haven’t missed anything, you might want to sit down with a real estate litigator and discuss the situation.