We purchased a property several months ago in Folsom CA that we knew had some foundation problems (right side was sinking). I had several contractors and an engineer come take a look at the problem and they determined that it was a compaction issue and seemed to be a relatively simple fix. We went to the city asking for any grading plans or other documents that would possibly show why the house would be sinking. The city didn't provide us with the requested information. We were originally looking to see how much dirt was moved to that side of the property that would be causing the foundation to sink approximately 3" over the last 20 years. With no relevant information obtained from the city and nothing showing in the title report we closed on the property on March 18th. We started taking core samples on the property to determine how far down the loose soil went to devise how far down we would have to go to reach solid dirt. Before we started this process we had USA come out and mark all of the utilities on the property. No markings were done to indicate that there was a pipe running under the property. During the course of drilling one of the neighbors came by the property and said "That's where the big pipe runs under the house". We originally thought the neighbor was crazy and didn't know what he was talking about. Just for S&G we decided to go through the back fence, down the 15 foot embankment around the grove of trees and thorn bushes, through the creek and discovered that 20 feet behind the property there was a grate that lead to a 54" storm drain that runs directly under the footings of the house.
The next day I went down to the building department (where I had submitted the original information request) and told someone that we had discovered a 54" pipe running under our house. They directed me to an engineer that said "oh yeah, we know all about that". He then proceeded to show me the grading plan for the subdivision that shows the storm drain running under the property. When asked why I never received that information when I requested it, I was told it must have never been routed to them.
I've been trying to work with the city on fixing the problem but they are unwilling to do anything about it. The reason seems to be that the previous owner (was banked owned with I bought it) had signed a waiver that was attached to the previous deed that indemnified the City of Folsom and the engineering company that sold him the property from any future liability from the pipe. Apparently there was already a lawsuit on the property from the original owners that resulted in the engineering company having to buy the house back. They then sat on the house for seven years, resold it to the previous owner and had them sign this waiver that was attached to the previous grant deed. This waiver was not included in the title report we received when we purchased the property. I have already contacted the title company and they responded that they are not responsible for unrecorded easements. Of course, the document in question was recorded so they're still liable AFAIK.
So here I am with a house that I can not fix based on the location of the pipe under the footing of the house. The City of Folsom doesn't want to take responsibility for the pipe in any way, just want to continue using it as they are. A title company that denies any and all liability.
I'm thinking that filing a cease and desist order against the city might be the best way to start the process going with them. That would force them to at least claim a prescriptive easement on the property and then I would think that they would be responsible for any damage caused by improvements they installed within the easement. Does that make sense?
Thanks for any advice in advance. Sorry for the long post but there's a lot going on here.