Basement Re-Finishing Nightmare!

This week I began taking down the paneling in our finished basement. We purchased the early 70's split-level about a year and a half ago but allowed the sellers to stay in the house and rent for four months.
We are now "discovering" the finished basement is merely paneling nailed to randomly placed 1"x3" furring strips nailed to the concrete.
We also found white powdery mold growing on the ceiling band joists and musty moisture stained concrete walls that were hidden by the paneling.
The most horrific thing we found was they actually bored out the concrete to fit in the electrical boxes. Each hole in the concrete is nearly 4"x3"x3" deep!
Another scary find was the fluorescent fixture was hanging only by the suspended ceiling and the wiring was loosely extended perpendicular to the ceiling joists.
So before I continue with this mess any further..... does anyone thing I have any recourse against the previous owners?
Obviously most of the work wasn't done to local codes and I doubt that any building permits were obtained to do the work.
Am I stuck with the mess or is it worth going after the previous owners since that likely did not have a permit?
Thanks for any feedback.
Bill S.
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That is why you hire a qualified Home Inspector before purchasing. It is too late for recourse. you purchased it a year and a half ago but allowed the sellers to stay in the house and rent for four months. can you prove the previous owner installed these items? I doubt it.
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That's another story. Homecheck is worthless. We learned the hard way.

That is a problem but we are the third owner of the house and the first owner lives a few blocks away and says he dind't finish the basement.
The second owner also lives a few miles away. Hopefully I never run into him....
Bill S.
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wrote:

You don't have a leg to stand on. It is all hear say!
_\ \ \ | / / / _ ( ' 0 - - 0 ' ) -----ooO----(__)----Ooo----- 3GCPO
I wish God gave me 3 arms instead of 3 legs.
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Depends on state law. It is worth calling a lawyer in your state that specializes in real estate litigation. Some states require sellers to fill out a sheet listing any defects or listing that no representation was made. If your state is one of them (NC for example) you may have a shot.

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the mess, redo it properly, and move on. You probably paid too much, thinking the basement was finished, but the odds of getting money relief in court, esp. after lawyer costs, are slim and none. The furring-supported paneling and drop ceiling-mounted lights are cheapass, but may even be code legal in your area, and the practice is not uncommon. Can't address the holes in the concrete, but I have seen similar nonsense before. It alls sounds pretty cheap to cure back to 'bare basement' status, assuming you can fix the drainage problem that led to the mold, and abate the existing infection. Splits are real prone to mold, what with one wall going from below frostline to above grade, and the condensation that results. I've been house shopping for awhile for myself, and most of the finished basements I've seen have been done so badly that I would probably rip them out first thing. But I grew up in the business, so sloppy crap irritates me more than most, and a bare concrete basement would be more useful to me anyway, esp if the place was a walkout.
aem sends....
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 03:20:14 GMT, "ameijers"

I can just see the lawyers arguing in court that this has no structural effect and that the only issue is that the wire is not stapled within 12" of leaving the box - leaving your damages at $1.99 for the staples.
I wouldn't mess with it either. Just consider it a lesson learned in home buying. Look at the bright side: you get to finish it right and in a style you like.
Bob
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I had a similar experience with our basement. I am no remolding expert but if I don't know what I am doing I wouldn't do a hack job knowing that someday I'll have to sell the house.
We also learned that most Home Inspectors are clueless and rarely ever dealbreakers. If you find a good one, pay him what he wants... money well invested.
Live and learn and you darn well bet next time I know to look for all of those not so obvious problem areas.
Joe Esposito
On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 12:54:01 GMT, 'nuther Bob

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