Purchased a home in Oct 2012. Had an inspection done. Recent rain made the basement leak around the entire foundation. Tried filing a claim with my insurance company who said they would not cover it related to it being a previous problem that should have been disclosed to me. Check disclosure form, nothing. Checked inspectors report, sd he could not do an inspection due to belongings in basement. What can I do? I'm stuck with the piling bills which I think is unfair. The condidtion of the basement would have been a game changer had I known about it before hand. Please help!
1 Answer from Attorneys
Speak with the attorney who handled your real estate closing. He or she will be in the best position to advise you regarding the disclosure and inspection.
From what you have said, you would have a claim if the seller failed to disclose and you are within the period to bring a claim. The question is one of proof. You would need to show the seller had knowledge. With the amount of rain this year, it is possible that the problem did not occur during the seller's ownership. Perhaps it was a combination of the amount of rain and conditions in the property that had changed over a number of years. If it had occurred before, but the sellers took care of it and were convinced the problem was solved, that may also excuse them from disclosing.
The inspector is probably not responsible. First, there are likely to be limitations in his contract with you. Second, he told you he could not check the basement adequately and you did not pursue it any further, you did not have your attorney ask for stuff to be cleared so that the inspector could return.
The insurance company's denial of your claim should be looked at much more carefully. If your closing attorney does not handle insurance litigation, then search for another attorney through this site or the county bar association. You may not have a claim, but you should not accept that determination from the insurance company without confirmation. If this is under your homeowner's insurance, I would have expected their denial to be based on the lack of flood insurance. If floods are covered under your insurance, I think an attorney would want to take a close look at the basis given for denial.