Seller provided inaccurate information in disclosure

3 Replies

I have a duplex under contract right now in Michigan.  The seller's disclosure said that the septic system was pumped and inspected in 2014.  Because of this I didn't schedule to get the septic system inspected while the house was being inspected.  My home inspection was completed on Thursday and I requested that my agent ask for the paperwork on the septic inspection from the seller.  I just got this email from the seller's agent tonight.

My client emailed the following and included the attached:

I went back into the records and either didn’t recall the pump out correctly or lost the invoice record. Attached is the last pump out I can find, in November of 2010. There was no “report”, but the licensed septic man (Walt Steuer) did not recommend any repairs; he simply hauled the waste away.

Sorry I can’t be more informative, however we’ve not been informed by either tenant that there is an issue (e.g. slow drainage from sinks/toilets, gurgling or other symptoms of a full septic tank). Nov ’11 is within the typical 6 year pump out recommendation, however.

As I was looking through the records, I did note that the well pump was replaced with a new one in 2012.

This is frustrating to me because my deadline for addendums is on Monday.  I scrambled and was able to find a septic inspector that could get the inspection done today at the price of $350.

How should I handle this?  What if the inspection shows that the septic needs to be pumped?  Should the seller knock the cost of the inspection off the purchase price?  Did the seller break any laws by providing inaccurate info on a disclosure?

I wouldn't say the seller broke a law because you can't prove that the septic wasn't pumped and inspected.  I'd try to get them to pay for the inspection base on the fact they couldn't find documentation to back up the disclosure. I don't think that the seller would want to jeopardize the deal over 350 dollars and if they do well maybe they are afraid of the outcome.   

Having your own inspection done would be part of the due diligence that you should have completed.  I don't trust anything on disclosures. You could ask the seller to pay, can't hurt.  It would be difficult to prove that the seller was fraudulent in their disclosure. 

Good luck!

Honestly, if the inspection shows that it needs to be pumped that is the least of your problems. Just chalk it up to the standard 'overage' that you hopefully budgeted. Sure you can ask for the invoice to be paid by seller at closing, and if he agrees - great! If not, just take it as a cost of acquisition.

What you have a septic inspection for is to determine if you need to REPLACE the septic! I've replaced 3 in the last year - two of which had to be engineered custom systems (30k+ not fun). So if the inspection comes back that its bad - either get the seller to agree to pay for replacement, or walk away!

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