Legal Question in Real Estate Law in District of Columbia


I’m a RE agent in Washington DC. About 5 month ago closed on a deal where I represented an investor, who completely renovated a townhouse, from top to bottom, installed all new systems, changed all interiors. The house has been purchased following regular purchase procedures, the deal was brought to this investor by BUYER’S agent who knew my client from the past, and had a very good relationship with him. It didn’t matter to me much as long as the deal was going smoothly. Buyer’s trusted this agent with everything even with Home Inspection, (I learned one very big lesson: NEVER use an inspector suggested by the realtor! They are self-serving and work together to get houses sold. But I was not in a position to advise) Buyers were traveling and Agent hired an Inspector, was with Inspector during inspection, happily delivered report to us that had very few, minor findings, to be fixed. My Client, Seller, fixed everything on the list. Upon arrival Buyers came to see the house for furniture layout and noticed few minor things to be addresses. During those 30 days pre-settlement we have received lists with minor things twice from the Buyer asking to address those as well. The seller addressed it with ease even though we knew that he didn’t have to at that point, he wanted Buyers to have a comforting feeling. The deal got closed, everyone left happy.

Month ago we heard from the Buyer’s Agent that Buyers are complaining about HVAC unit functioning, they invited HVAC technician who told them that the outside unit has been installed to close to the house, and needs to be reinstated, they also sent a quote from 2 different technicians to Buyer’s Agency requesting the Investor to cover the expense. My client was not happy about them contacting him and requesting such thing, but still offered to send his AC guy, who installed the unit initially, to take a look at the problem. By the time coordination was made for AC guy to go , Buyers informed that they are not trusting this AC guy and hired someone else, who competed the job. And now they require the Investor to cover their bill. This is all done through the Buyer’s Agent who as I understand proposed this option to calm them down.

Together with Buyer Agent’s Broker we went back and looked at the home inspection report. No mentioning of any problem with HVAC. The house has been renovated under all required permits, and mechanical inspection has been done by DC third Party Inspector.

My questions is: Can Investor push back on the demand to cover Buyer’s Expenses on moving unit further from the house? Is he liable for any problems with the house after the settlement? No home warranty has been requested under contract. So three is none.

Thanks in advance!

Asked on 7/05/12, 12:25 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Torrance Colvin The Colvin Law Firm

Difficult to make a determination without seeing the contract and addendums. Generally speaking, if it were sold "as is" than there would be probably be no obligation. If it were a house converted to a condominium, there would be potential liability. Present contract to an attorney for review.

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Answered on 7/27/12, 7:19 pm

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