Q: My husband and I purchased a home nearly 2 months ago. The seller disclosure form stated that the owners had no water or leaking in the basement.
We purchased the home with the intent to finish the basement for additional living space.
In the 2 months we have lived there the basement did have some water on one occasion and today, the basement flooded with at least 6 inches of water.
During his inspection of the home, the home inspector noticed the basement was recently painted and did comment that it was suspicious but couldn’t state for sure that the basement recently had any water.
The house does have two sump pumps that do work but water is still coming. We think the sellers lied on their disclosure form. We were suspicious about other things that were more minor, but loved the house and neighborhood.
We are going to have to do some serious work to make the basement space usable and keep our belongings dry. Do we have grounds for suing the sellers?
A: Unless you can prove that the sellers knew or should have known the basement leaked, it may be tough to sue and collect damages. You’d have to find a smoking gun, like making contact with the contractor who attempted to fix the problem for them, or find the painters that painted the home that can tell you about water stains on the walls of the basement or discover some evidence that the basement leaked repeatedly.
Please consult with a litigation attorney who has experience in seller disclosure issues for a review of your legal options.