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Question DetailsAsked on 4/9/2017

bought a home that has mold. can we go after the seller for this

Been sick all winter long so had a mold inspector come into our home and they did find mold. A remediation needs to be done. found out the bathtub flooring in the crawl space is very rotted from years of leaks, per the inspector. the kitchen in crawl space also has mold damage. the seller had a contractor install new flooring and cabinets, sink, and I don't see how a contractor could NOT see the kitchen mold and the water damage. I want to know if we can go back to the seller and request he pay for the mold removal. the seller did not acknowledge to seeing anything structurally wrong with the house on the check list. how could you not notice this severe damage.

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2 Answers


Of course you would need an attorney for a definitive answer on this, but unless you could prove the SELLER knew about it and knowlingly/intentionally failed to put it on a presale disclosure statement, you would likely have no recourse. Proving he knew about it - especially if he/she was non-resident at the time the work was done (say had already moved out) or was a flipper/investor or estate executor or such who never lived in the house, could be very tough.

You said crawl space under, not basement - so it is quite likely the owner knew nothing about this unless the contractor brought it to his attention or he happened to see it while they were doing the flooring job - if they were replacing floor sheathing.

This assumes you did not have any sort of buyer's insurance included in the deal - sometimes there is an owner-provided warranty ro such you can file a claim under.

The flooring contractor may or may not have known about the damage - depending on whether he replaced the subfloor sheathing or not, but unless you got an affidavit from him that he say it and told the owner about it and the seller said not to do anything about it, no recourse there. IT is quite possible, especially if the seller was not living in the house at the time or the work was done while he was at work, tht he did not see the mold and was not told about it.

Of course, you can always TRY to recover some from the Seller, especially if you are convinced he had to know about this. Does not mean you will, but he might pay something just to get a release from any possible future claims.

Mold itself does not necessarily mean the subfloor framing has to be replaced - just killing it with treatment and removing the mold (pressure blasting or sandblasting sometimes is done in subfloor spaces like that) to be sure there is not substantial rot underneath may be all thatneeds to be done.

If there is substantial rot (small spot rot areas can commonly be cut out, patched with epoxy wood fillers, then a structural reinforcing applied over that point) requiring significant framing repairs, then that is looking at major bucks - especially if the overlying flooring is a hard flooring that cannot be readily pulled up from above to allow renailing/screwing down of the sheathing as joists are replaced.

Oh - and BTW - unless you have an antique homeowner's policy, it will NOT cover this sort of long-term damage from leakage.

Unfortunately - this is the sort of thing Home Inpectors are for - did you have a home inspection done during the contingency period ? If so and it did not note this damage (unless the report said the area could not be accessed for whatever reason), you might have recourse against the inspector or his Errors and Omissions insurance, if he carried any. However, generally they limit their liability in their contract to what you paid for his service - so just a few hundred $. But in many states they have to carry E&O insurance which has to provide coverage for such omissions in the report - you could research that.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



This is James in Member Care. Thanks for your interest in Angie's List!

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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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