Legal Question Regarding Damages

4 Replies

I have a question about who pays for damages discovered after a sale. I purchased a condo to use as a STR and the day after the sale was finalized we were advised that the dishwasher has been leaking for days, there is mold behind it, and there is water damage in other parts of the condo. When I called my insurance company they said they won't cover it because it started prior to my owning the property and the previous owner's insurance would be covering the property at the time.

So, we didn't have a property inspection prior to purchase. Who is at fault here? Are we just stuck with this because we bought the property with the standard "as is" clause in the contract?

I don't get the sense that the previous owner actually knew about this as he was a very "hands off" owner of the property and was informed by the house cleaner about the puddle on the floor. I don't want to drop lots of money to litigate something that may only cost a few thousand to repair, but on the other hand, if it's reasonable to request the previous owner to pay for this, I would like to do so. Advice? Thanks!

Did the sales contract convey any warranty or working order of house hold appliances? Or, was the contract for "as is, where is" 

You can always ask the last home owner to file a claim, but seeing how they don't own the property any longer, they may not be able to file a claim. 

Your insurance company sounds like they are giving you a runaround though. File a formal claim,  Then have your insurance company produce to you the section of your policy that excludes damages preexisting prior to acquisition.

Also,Yes a like existed before you purchased it and it may have done damage.  However now a leak exist after you purchased it and damage was incurred after acquisition as well, your insurance company is not off the hook here.

I think you're going to be out of pocket for repairs.  Had you done an inspection and found the problem you could have had the seller fix it or renegotiate the price.  But no inspection and you say the place was sold as-is.  Even with an inspection it might have been missed.  An inspector would have probably ran the dishwasher, though, and pointed out the leak and recommended further investigation.  Or you could have done that, too.

Even if there was a seller disclosure statement, this hidden problem would probably not have been listed because the seller was unaware of it.  

I don't think you current insurance will pay.  And I don't think filing a claim is a good idea.  Insurance pays for losses incurred when the policy is in effect, and this is prior damage.  I have had claims where the adjustor said "this is old damage, its not covered".