Q: About 12 years ago, we bought a home. A few years after that, we started to have problems with our septic leach lines.

Before we bought our house, the sellers subdivided their total acreage (about 7 acres total) into to two pieces. When we bought our property, the sellers didn’t disclose that our septic lines ran deep onto the other side of the new property line. There are no written easements for the property.

It will cost us around $8,000 to move the septic lines off the other property. I would like to know if we have any legal rights to go back on the people that split the land. They either forgot or tried to hide the fact that the ground should not have been sold like that.

Had we known this, we wouldn’t have signed off on the property. The same is true of the owners of the other part of the property.

A: I agree that it’s unfortunate that the former owners of the property failed to disclose where the septic system was.

However, after 12 years, it is unlikely that you would have the right to sue the sellers for their failure to disclose a problem that wouldn’t have been a problem for them, as owners of the entire property.

If you were able to sue them for failing to disclose where the septic lines lay (assuming they were aware of where they were), you probably would have had to do it within the first 2 to 6 years after closing on the property. But by now, the statute of limitations may have run out. But it would be best for you to talk to a real estate attorney in your area to go over your situation.

In talking to this attorney, you may find out that your state has certain laws or prior cases that may be in your favor. Since you bought the property with a use, perhaps even an easement, on the other property, it might be possible for you to continue to make use of the septic field. But once again, please talk to a local real estate attorney.

Published: Aug 12, 2007