Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-30-2013

Undisclosed water damage

We bought a house last October in NJ. Seller disclosed "no prior water damage". We just now found an insurance claim for water damage from hurricane Irene for $3700 (new carpet). When asked they initially said nothing, we threatened with lawyer they told us where the damage was and offered to pay for a sump pump. We asked for details as to the source of the problem, now they're not returning our emails.

My concern is it could be (worst case) a horizontal crack in the foundation wall, i.e. structural damage. Can't tell though since the basement is finished with paneling.

1. How would it affect our ability to sell the house and or the resale value if we had to disclose to prospective buyers "there was water damage, we don't know the source, and it has not been fixed"?
2. If we go to court we have to claim fraud since their representations did not "survive closing". In order to have fraud I need to have some damage. How do I put a dollar figure on the damage they caused us by not disclosing and fixing the problem before closing?
3. Does anybody know about similar cases, either in court or resolved amicably (which is what we still prefer)?

My goal is to get this fixed and documented as resolved with no cost to us.

Thanks a lot in advance,

Regular Contributor
Posts: 101
Registered: ‎10-01-2012

Re: Undisclosed water damage

I think that the best option you can do is to continue with the lawsuit against the previous owners who failed to disclose and pay you for the water damage. Of course, you will have to expect expenses from it. So whether you continue with the lawsuit, or just fix the water damage at your own expense -  i think it would be impossible that it will cost you nothing since either way you will have to spend a few bucks, that is if you really want to ensure the value of your property and your ability to sell it.

"The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind."

-Albert Einstein

Posts: 22
Registered: ‎05-01-2013

Re: Undisclosed water damage

As sad as it is,you will not be able to make this go away with zero cost to yourself. I will try my best to go through all the questions you asked in numerical order as presented.

1. It will very much effect the ability to sell the home but you could rehab the house if the damage was as you put worse case senario.

2. You could get a quote from a civil engineer, handyman, or call Tri State Flood Inc. at (800) 790-6202. Or fix it and take the previous owners to court for your own cost.

3. No cases come to mind, put here is an leagal article regarding neighbor responsiblity for water damamge


Hope this helped and I wish you the best of luck in your aquatic dispute.