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How or who might I go to for help?

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Posted by: from Windsor
9/17/2013 at 12:01:13 PM

Hey there.

I'm looking for info on who I should go to for documentation and a write up of all covered up damages on a house just purchased.

A home inspector completely missed a ton of problems with this house. Unfortunately home owners don't know anything about houses. Real estate agent didn't say anything either. As I walked into house less than 15 minutes found a lot of code issues with wiring, foundation problems, as well as a lot of mold a foot up walls in plain sight all over in corners of pretty much every area.

As I was gutting basement under sub floors was rotted standing water. Some areas had 3 layers of drywall covering up mold by moldy layer. Kind of a blessing in reality because of found junction boxes not capped under drywall. Wiring between drywall and 2x2 strapping. Exterior foundation needs to be dug out no membrane on walls needs weeping tile replaced. No clamps on boxes wiring just a horrific mess. A plain sight on wall switches mounted to cinder block was wiring exposed. Rotted holes in basement old wood windows.

Just a nightmare of a house that was overpaid for to begin with. Unfortunately 65plus year old foster parents who just lost their 48 year old son a month ago are stressed beyond belief. Understood but as I'm hoping a lawyer can get some sort of monetary recourse to help offset hidden damages behind walls let alone the huge issues that were visible.

Unbelievable here in Windsor Ontario Canada.

Thank You in advance.

REPLIES (7)
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Tyler from Custom Renovations in Sarnia
Date/Time9/17/2013 at 4:42:10 PM

Consult a lawyer. The house inspector or previous owners may be able to be sued. You may be able to cancel the sale, but that's not my expertise.

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Date/Time9/17/2013 at 5:30:59 PM

I would say the same---

"Consult a lawyer. The house inspector or previous owners may be able to be sued. You may be able to cancel the sale, but that's not my expertise."

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Date/Time9/17/2013 at 8:22:53 PM

Hi,

If you have proof, re photo's and some people who will sign affidavits that there were lots of obvious problems such as the large molded area's and wiring issues that were also visible. Then you can most definitely go after the firm you hired for the pre purchase inspection. If they are a legitimate company, they will be properly insured. You should cover most of your costs including legal if you do have proof that can be shown to the courts.

The homeowner can't be chased for anything. Unless it was an item listed in the pre-inspection report, and they had agreed in the purchase and sale agreement to rectify it.

Good luck with your reno's and with the suit.

James Fram

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time9/17/2013 at 8:31:12 PM

Home inspector cannot be held liable. They only make informed decisions, some very bad at times, but for the most part they give the buyer an overview of the homes condition. Ever walk Holmes Inspection? He sees this crap work every day.

You should be able to speak with the lawyer who signed the deed and ask them for assistance, but at the end of the day it is up to the buyer to make the final decision and he who decides what parties to use for inspections and professional opinions.

Not all home inspectors are legal, some are generalists.

If you have electrical issues the ESA should have been called and still can be called to ask an inspector to walk through the place at your expense. A few hundred could save the home from an electrical fire.

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Sean in Windsor
Date/Time9/18/2013 at 3:12:15 PM

Thank you all for the helpful info.

Unfortunately many people know absolutely nothing about homes. Too bad Mike Holmes wasn't here lol. Again that's why there should be a regulation with home inspectors. It's been way to long that they haven't been held liable. That's why people trust them as they are suppose to know what they are doing for those who don't that are looking to purchase. Not all are bad it's just the too many yahoo's that ruin it for the legitimate ones.

Again thanks for the help. I will pass the info along.

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Date/Time9/21/2013 at 10:45:05 AM

Sorry to hear about these problems.

I am a student home inspector. What I have learned is that home inspectors are not responsible for items that are hidden from sight. We do a visual inspection and inspect items that are readily accessible and normal operating controls. That means controls a homeowner would normally operate. ie. light switches, the furnace, the AC, doors and windows, plumbing. etc. With that said, we are trained to pick up clues that lead us to believe there may be underlying problems with the house. An example would be a musty smell in a basement may indicate a backed up floor drain or perhaps a leaking foundation.

We are strongly encouraged to have the potential buyer walk through the house during inspection so that we can point out potential problems and make suggestions for maintenance issues. It also gives the homebuyer the opportunity to ask lots of questions.

There is a certain TV show that may give the impression that home inspectors should be removing ceiling tiles and moving furniture. We are not required to do that because we do a visual inspection. We are not code experts, although educated inspectors do have code training. Again, the TV show personality is always quoting code violations. Codes don t always apply in older houses, as codes were different .However, with some of the issues you described, a properly educated home inspector would have picked up the problems. Until Ontario legislates that home inspectors have qualifications, anyone can call themselves a home inspector.

Is the inspector a member of OAHI or CAHPI? Do they have insurance? Did you interview him beforehand? Was the homebuyer present during the inspection? Was there a contract as to what the inspector was going to inspect? Did he perform according to the contract?

You could contact a lawyer, but if the home inspector you hired is not a professional, I really don't know how successful you would be in recovering some of the costs of home repairs.

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Jeff from Newson Interiors in Dunrobin
Date/Time9/24/2013 at 7:23:24 PM

Hi Sean,

This is a very unfortunate story, one that I lived through a few years ago.

Within the first 4 months in the home I live in now, the well went dry($25000) the furnace heat exchanger cracked($5000) and the roof leaked due to ice damming($12k insurance claim) He can't open the well, cut open the furnace or see the insulation in the vaulted ceiling.

The inspector is not liable for any of the discovered problems or repairs. He is not required to remove anything including furniture.They also have a clause called "at the time of inspection" that can be used to cover some things that were missed. Although I agree there are better inspectors who through experience can maybe give you a likelihood of seeing certain issues. If there were problems that were obvious it could be argued that the buyer should have noticed and brought it to the attention of the inspector.

The previous owner can be held responsible under the non-disclosure laws but the burden is on you to prove that they knew about these issues and didn't disclose them. That is harder than you think. I tried for a year and a half, unsuccessfully.

Just as there are good and bad inspectors, there are good and bad lawyers. A good one will tell you to find proof of non-disclosure and he'll take the case a bad one will take the case and your money with no chance of recapturing any of your costs.

I'm sure this is not what you or they want to hear but I hope the info helps in some way.

Jeff

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