Does anyone know what the statute of limitiations in the state of
maryland is for filing a suit against a home seller and or a real
estate agent for not disclosing a defect, and possibly making a
fraudulent claim about the house's integrity?
house was advertised to me as having waterproof basement. not so. half
of the basement has a french drain. the other half has a trench to
collect water and divert it to the drain..
I have consulted a few people about this.. they said "Oh, that's the
old way of doing it." (the drain was installed in the 80's.) but, a
water proofing company was here tonight, and flat out told me that
whatever I was told was wrong-- that it is not a waterproofed
basement.. and, I could bring this against the seller and the real
estate agent. Only half of the basement is water proofed, the other
half is some hodgepodge system that was probably done by the old
owner. He only had the half that was a real problem done, and just
fudged the rest (even putting up wood panelled walls up to hide the
I wasn't paying this any mind, because whatever this system was was
working ok and I just thought it was the "old way", but I found an
area that isn't, and it is getting worse.. and it was masked by the
I have lived in the house for 2 1/4 years.. the guy here tonight
thinks that the statute is 3 years.
On 19 Apr 2007 18:01:55 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
His case may not be typical.
Even with an 'as is' sale, the seller can be liable for false
representations**. You'll be happy to know that if you ever get
Whether the OP was screwed or not is another question.
Basically I agree with Trader4
**Contracts for the sale of land have to be in writing. I don't
remember if that would mean that a representation that something is
waterproof, or has 200amp service, or whatever, would also have to be
Yes false representation is an exception to as is. But we havent seen
the listing or anything in writing that ststes "waterproof". Plus
the OP hasnt had any water in basement so it has effectively been
"waterproof" so what are damages? He'd be better off saving for a
professionaljob if it bothers him that much as hes not likely to get
to far. I would not be too sympathetic as a juror to someone buying
There is no such thing as a "wateproof" basement. There are a
variety of solutions that will attempt to limit water and moisture
intrusion into a basement, but from a practical standpoint, nothing
can really guarantee that a basement is waterproof. And what exactly
does waterproof mean? The seller could very well argue that
whatever system he had in place, which you say was working so you paid
it no mind for 2 1/2 years, was in fact, waterproofing, because it
kept the basement floor dry.
I think you're going to have a very difficult time prevailing in a
basement water case when you didn't make any claim until 2 1/2 years
after the sale. And from a practical standpoint, you're limited to
small claims, because it isn't going to be worth the legal expense to
pursue this, unless you want to throw good money after bad.
get it fixed correctly, assuming the foundation is otherwise in good shape.
Ie, dig up the outside of that half of basement, seal properly, add footer
drains, backfill properly, etc. Lawyers ain't cheap.
The law would only cover something that was not readily apparent.
What he describes should be pretty obvious.
And he does not seem to have been damaged. He hasn't suffered a loss, and
can hardly demand the cost of making the basement "waterproof". So even if
he could show they deceived him, he would still lose.
first, thanks for all the replies and discussion--
I talked to a lawyer, and it will be cheaper for me to fix it than
hiring a lawyer.. it will be around $4,500 to fix.. but I am still
going to talk to my real estate agent anyway..
hopefully the real estate company, which handled the sale and the
listing, and my title, will be able to help.
This house WAS inspected.. the inspector said there was a french
drain.. but, did not look behind the wall..
hell.. he even said that there was a drain line out to the street,
which there wasn't.. just a pipe that ended under the beginning of the
driveway, which caused a sink hole.. but that's another story!
The inspection likely would have missed it, it being on the other side of a
You're right that this all depends on the definition of "waterproofed". What I
think he describes is an older-type "cove" system. That is one way of dealing
with it. A waterproofing company saying it wasn't waterproofed is no more than
a sales pitch to have their system put in instead, hoping you'd contract with
them expecting some future settlement!
So, in pursuing this legally, he faces:
1. What he or the owner meant by "waterproofed". He'd need an engineer, and a
*disinterested* engineer, to make a statement on that.
2. If the previous owner intended to cover up. It isnt' known when the wall
went up. Was the previous owner the first owner of the house?? And, again,
there's the whole question if he truly honestly considered it waterproofed. And
if that may possibly may *still* be said, only that the waterproofing system
needs some repair.
I agree with others here - best to put the money to a solution. The first thing
I see that needs to be done is for him to consult an independant engineer.
lets say a neighbor was aware of water troubles but it wasnt disclosed
on that form YOU WIN the seller pays for water control on the
fear of this keeps sellers honest.
so how much $$ will fixing it cost?
well he had a contractor visit, probably gave a estimate, 500 bucks or
if its little money probably better to fix and forget.
but talk to neighbors sure! they may have similiar troubles and
cheaper solutions, many times they can recommend a contractor.
one might remember water proofing contractors visits, or old owner
talking of trouble.
if theres any way to show old owner was aware of trouble, repairs are
I'm not saying the OP should sue, but your last sentence bothers me.
People have a duty to testify. What they would "care" to do shouldn't
be the OP's concern.
Except that for practical reasons he probab;y has to think about it,
but the notion that people shouldn't participate in the state's
criminal action or a plaintiff's civil action because they don't want
to is antithetical to the concepts of "society" and "American".
But in reality, they may not care to, or even be morally obliged to. It often
They may have been friends with the old owner; they may still have contact with
the old owner. They may not have been so fond of the old owner, but have a
mutual friend still in the neighborhood.
They may have only heard a comment or two about the basement water, of limited
use even if they testify (they don't know, for example, all the mitigations may
have been applied by the owner since then). People only know so much.
*Very* likely, the only time the old owner had water problems is when *they* had
water problems as well(in the same storms)! They don't want to discuss that and
put on record their *own* problems. Or, they view a certain level of problems
to be ordinary ("everyone had water in the basement that September - you can't
say from that storm"). After all, the OP hasn't even had actual water problems
yet. He's only seen some signs of failure, behind a *wall* for goodness' sake.
A lot of people (and neighborhoods) have kind of an ethos of "I look the other
way, so you can look the other way", so as to avoid a big-brother atmosphere.
This is both good and bad.
My bet is that the OP is a first time home buyer, all upset that his product
isn't perfect, falling for what a person *selling something* told him.
He needs to think about it and get real opinions. From an engineer, and from a
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