Can home buyer sue seller for cost to repipe house?


John: I bought a house in February and in March I found out that I needed to re-pipe the house costs about $13,000. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right.  

John: This was done by a contractor, locally. I’m wondering if I have any recourse on getting help.

Attorney Tom Olsen: The state of the law, John, is that here in the State of Florida, when you sell a piece of property, you are obligated to disclose to your buyer any known defects. And so the question is, “Did your seller know that this house needed to be re-piped?”                       I suspect the answer could easily be “no” because one day pipes are good and the next day you’ve got a leak and they’ve got to be re-piped. So what do you think John? 

John: In this case, the pipes that they showed me when they dug them up, the bottom half of the pipe was missing. So I would say it’s probably been that way for a while. But I don’t know.

Attorney Tom Olsen: How did you discover the problem, John?

John: Backing up in the house and also shortly after that, I got a letter from the city for the water.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay, that would be evidence that there is a water leak, John. So, John, what you might want to do is to go back in the city records and find out what the water bills were for your seller. If they were 1,800 bucks that would be pretty good evidence that he was aware of that there was a leak in the water pipes. 

John: Yes. And also the sewer pipe, I had both of them replaced.  

Attorney Tom Olsen: I’m so sorry, John. Welcome to the joys of the home ownership. But John, do you have a case? It depends on whether your seller knew or should have known these defects were there.