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Renting to own a home that is not up to code.

Beckley, WV |

This property was not supervised and assessed when it was built. NOTHING is up to code. Not the plumbing, electric, the house is CROOKED and is not built on the proper foundation. We have put SO MUCH MONEY and time into fixing it up. Our contract said buy "as is" (meaning not finished, no doors, trim, etc.) We signed the contract before knowing this. There is no stink pipe also. There was no outlets for a stove or washing machine, which we have since installed. The walls do not meet the floors. The HOUSE is on cinder block pillars which are just sitting on the ground. I'm sure there are more problems, but we are encountering them as we go. Please tell me what we can do!

We put $5000 down and have been paying 425 a month since last June. We were TOLD that everything was up to code and that it passed inspection (which it clearly did not).. as I said, the pipes are laying on the ground underneath the house, with continuous leaks and drips. Was written in the contract that if we broke the lease, any and all monies paid and used to buy improvements for the house, which exceeds $3000 by my records, is fore-fitted. We are constantly stressed out as something goes wrong EVERY DAY! I'm scared to do anything because I can't lose all that money, but I can not afford to keep fixing this house! There is also no form of heat, other than a heater we use. Most of our furniture sits on little gravels so that it sits level with the rest of the house.

Attorney Answers 1


Before spending another dime, please contact a local real estate attorney. Buyer beware is a general rule, and you should have had the house professionally inspected before signing an "as is" contract, but you may still have a claim for material misrepresentation. This is not a situation you are going to fix on your own. Please speak to an attorney.

To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.

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Thank you for your response. I was making sure that I wouldn't be looked at as stupid for thinking I had any rights in this situation. One of my friends who's studying law said that if the property was not even legal to sell, the contract would be void. I was also informed that there is a code where the crawl space has to be a certain height off the ground, ours is no more than 2 feet. I have taken pictures of the plumbing and other problems and will be speaking to someone very soon! Thanks again!

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