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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    9

    Default Seller Did Not Disclose Leaking Issues They Knew About

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Colorado

    We purchased a home in Colorado Springs in March. It is a ranch with a finished basement. The house had been on the market since July and we are quite sure that from sometime around that time (maybe before or maybe just after) a handy man was doing a lot of work inside the house and we are reasonably sure that the basement was not finished and he was finishing it. There is new wallboard and carpet and was obviously painted with a sprayer.

    A couple months ago I realized that every time it rains with any force at all (rare between March and a couple months ago) we get a pretty steady leak on one wall in the basement. I can't tell exactly where it is coming from but I suspect it is a crack or something in the foundation about a foot or 2 below the ground level. It is too big of a leak to be brand new. Last night I had 4 towels completely drenched to the point of being heavy. That wall is covered in the new wallboard so I cannot see the actual foundation to tell just yet the exact source. There is also a short partition wall that comes out from the foundation wall which I just found is wet inside and at the bottom as I now have some lovely green mold there.

    My question is, is there anything I can do if it can be proved the seller knew about the leak, essentially hid it by covering it and then did not disclose it? I should think if we can determine the leak is not in fact new, and with all the renovation taking place, it seems reasonably certain they had to know about it and did not disclose it.

    Thanks in advance.

    Edit: I attached a picture but I'm not sure if you can make it out. That horizontal crack is basically where it looks like it is leaking. From feeling the wall, below that crack might actually be foundation, above feels like the wallboard so I'm not sure what that means. 1924 house so foundation is mostly cinderblock, perhaps that lower part is covered with cement and the top section is not.


  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Seller Did Not Disclose Leaking Issues They Knew About

    You got one of these, right? Does it disclose anything relevant?

    It may be that they hired somebody to repair the problem and were told that it was fully repaired, rather than being an issue of nondisclosure.

    Did you utilize a housing inspector of your own?

    To me that doesn't look like wallboard behind the stack pipe, but looks like a textured coating over a cement or cinder block wall. Of course, you're in the house and I'm only looking at a picture.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    9

    Default Re: Seller Did Not Disclose Leaking Issues They Knew About

    Yes we did get a disclosure and no there was nothing relevant about it. We did use an inspector of our own but looking at the area in this picture looked 100%, not really a way to tell there was such a leak at the time.

    You are probably right, it was probably "supposed" to be fully repaired if they knew.

    What is weird is the bottom half of the wall behind the pipe does feel like a textured coating over the foundation wall, but right around that horizontal crack it feels like it changes to wallboard. closer to the pipe it feels more solid like foundation wall but in other spots it is definitely wallboard. Hard to tell exactly and I'm hoping I don't end up having to rip it down to get behind it...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Seller Did Not Disclose Leaking Issues They Knew About

    Okay... got it. Is this a daylight basement? I have seen transitions like that in basements, particularly those with daylight windows, and I suspect that you're correct that there is a transition from the coated foundation wall to drywall at that mid-point. What's on the other side of the wall? Is that entire wall underground? Do you have a water runoff issue along that wall - e.g., with the ground leading up to the wall sloping downward toward the wall?

    Are you at all handy? If you are, I will tell you that drywall is easy to repair (although the full sheets are bulky and hard to transport or for one person to carry... although there are tricks) and particularly given that it's a basement you don't need a perfect finish, so I wouldn't personally be particularly hesitant about cutting a hole into the drywall near the leak to see what's going on in that area.

    Have you tried contacting the seller - I might be a bit leading... "I noticed that you repaired the wall in the basement near the main stack where leaking occurs, and unfortuntely it's reoccurring - can you tell us who did the repair and if there may be a warranty that applies"...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    9

    Default Re: Seller Did Not Disclose Leaking Issues They Knew About

    gotcha, thats actually pretty helpful thank you! it is a daylight basement, its finished and in CO to have bedrooms in the basement you need windows you can get out of, although that particular wall has none. There is a half window down the wall a bit. The ground does not particularly slope toward the house too much but here in CO we have gotten some heavy flash flood type rains recently and with the ground being so dry, its probably the same effect. No gutters either (300 days of sunshine typically though The ground is about 6-8 inches above where that crack is too which I guess is not too surprising.

    I would consider myself handy enough to cut an inspection hole and have a look around. Perhaps I should start there, see what I see, and then do as you suggest and try to contact the seller in a leading type way.

    Not sure when I will get to that (its on the long list of projects), but i'll report back. thanks again.

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