Purchased my first home in E. Oakland (Having Electrical Issues)

10 Replies | Oakland, California

I am in need of help please. I closed escrow in mid-August 2017, but I did not move into the house till September 1. I started doing some additional work on floor and painting though the month of September and October. I am single so I had been using minimal electricity. On November 1st I had a family move into the house. Now that there were additional people in the house besides just me, more lights were being used. A week ago I started noticing lights flickering and electrical breakers going out. I contacted an electrician and he came out to look at my electrical box. First thing he said is it was a mess. The breakers are not wired correctly and the wrong breakers are being used. He also quickly noticed that the PG&E meter is being bypassed. He did not want to continue to work on the electrical box and informed me to contact my real state agent since it was a new purchase.

I did my due diligence and hired a home inspector. After re-reading through his report, and looking at the pictures he took. There is no mention of any meter bypassing or any wrong breakers.

I need to get this fixed ASAP….. am I completely liable for this fix…? Does the Inspection company or selling agent hold any liability…?  Do i need to go after the seller...?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated…. Thanks.

Since you aren't OOS and local you might be able to try and hold the inspection company responsible, but it's probably not going to happen. They'll likely have some clause or wording that exempts them, but you could still try. 

I'd get a bid/documentation from the electrician and talk to the inspection company. If it's something that's glaringly obvious to a competent person you might want to take it to small claims...

@Ernie Espinoza most likely this will be coming out of your pocket.  You could try and get money out of everybody, but the process will probably be slow and potentially long.  Personally, I would have the work scheduled and also pursue the financial side in parallel.  Right now, if there is an electrical fire the first person that anybody will look at is you...  Take care of your liability first.

you might be able to sue the inspector and win,  but the inspector will counter that they are a general inspector and not an electrical inspector

Originally posted by @Daniel Gonzalez:

you might be able to sue the inspector and win,  but the inspector will counter that they are a general inspector and not an electrical inspector

 I was thinking same thing.... I wonder how that'd go in court (assuming it's something blatantly obvious). Is there any cert/regulatory body for inspections in CA?

Thanks you all for the advice.... I agree, the first thing I need to do is fix the issue. I’ll seek damages in parallel…. If I am able to get any. After reading the fine print on the inspection report, they do cover themselves prey good.

first things first.... FIX the issue immediately. Im a licensed electrician and overloaded circuits can lead to fires... hiring a company wont be that costly or hiring a licensed electrician that works on the side might save you money but make sure you check with the city and see what they require and pay for proper permits for the work being done.

Hi @Ernie Espinoza I am a home inspector and I recommend you address this issue with your inspector.  A service cable bypassing the meter is definitely a major issue and is definitely within the standard scope of a home inspection.  Your inspector will likely be very embarrassed about this error and he might even be willing to pay for it. If he refuses to pay for the repairs his insurance might cover it.

I agree with @Charles Smith that the problem is a safety issue and should be addressed immediately.  Be sure to document it very well with photos before you start repairs.  If the problem is as bad as you describe, the home inspector will cringe when he sees the photos and realizes his mistake (particularly with the bypassed meter). Hopefully he will pay for it. He should!

I would be concerned about the lights flickering . With the meter bypassed , it sounds to me that there may be a floating neutral . This is a dangerous life threatening issue that needs to be addressed right away .

Doesnt matter who's fault , get it fixed 


If you have the Inspector's Insurance info you may want to file a claim with them before the expense of an actual suit.  I would still consult with an Attorney to make sure you do not do anything that will cause you problems with a later suit.  The inspector's Professional Liability carrier will evaluate the claim.  If they feel that there is Liability they may pay to avoid legal fees on top of the damages.