You recently bought the perfect house, but after the moving in, you’ve discovered it isn’t as flawless as you thought. Perhaps the roof leaks, the basement floods, or the plumbing is suspect. Whatever the issue might be, there may be legal remedies available to handle the matter.
The first step is to contact your insurance company. There is a possibility that the issue is covered by your insurance plan. In that event, there is no need to take further action on your own. It is also important to read over your contract prior to any further action. Specific remedies may exist within the contract to save recent homebuyers the hassle of an all-out search for a solution.
Once you have checked with your insurance company and reviewed your contract, it is possible you have been wronged, and legal action may be necessary. Liability could lie both with your house inspector or the seller. If the inspector missed the problem, and reasonably shouldn’t have (it is her or her job, after all), the inspector could be liable. Review your inspection report to confirm whether the problem was reported.
For Illinois residents, sellers may be responsible for housing defects under the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act, which requires sellers to divulge and explain flaws that fall within a list of potential defects under the law. If a seller lied about a defect, they could be liable if you took their word for it. Similarly, if the seller failed to note the defect at all, they could be liable as well.
It is best to contact an attorney if there seems to be a case for seller or inspector liability. Not all housing contracts are the same, and it may be difficult to sift through the language of the contract to find the responsible party. If the problem was not there when you moved in, or was extremely obvious, you might not have a claim. In the event that you do, an attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action. A lawsuit might not be efficient, as a demand letter or mediation between the parties could solve the problem in a more timely and cost-effective manner. If these options fail, an attorney can advise you on acting within the statute of limitations of your state and whether to file in small claims or state court.
Purchasing a home is often a stressful, drawn-out process, and that stress is compounded when a home has hidden defects. Handling the issue properly can save both time and money, and provide peace of mind.
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