Last year me and my wife purchased our first home (bank owned) after a long time of saving money. We contacted a realtor and advised him what we were looking for 3/2 with public sewer, no septic (since some of the listings were septic). After the home was purchased and starting to moving in meeting our neighbors, the conversation of septic systems came up. The neighbors advised me the whole neighborhood is on a septic system. If we would have known that we would have negotiated to the price to replace the septic since it is the original one and will probably be due to be replaced. I contacted my realtor and he advised me he did not know it was on septic and the listing stated public sewer. The inspector recommended by realtor did not advise us of the septic either. <Help>
Real Estate Attorney
Since you no doubt had every opportunity, in advance of signing Contracts, to engage an inspector so as to determine whether the premises was services by municipal sewer or septic, and you did engage an inspector, if the inspector clearly missed it, and no doubt this is not something that would be difficult to determine, you most likely have a claim against the inspector. Oftentimes the reports have language limiting their liability. Whether such limitation is enforceable is another issue. You paid him/her to do a job and seemingly the inspector dropped the ball.
Most listing agreements contain a caveat that they are subject to errors, omissions and corrections and are not part of the signed Contract.
Your real estate agent is a licensed professional. If the agent posted in MLS that the house was on a sewer system rather than a septic tank, you were reasonable to assume that the statement was thoroughly researched by the agent. You probably have an action against the agent, but proving the amount of your damages may be difficult. If the information about the sewer was supplied by the seller, you may be able to set the sale aside and get your money back in a Johnson v. Davis suit (a suit on an undisclosed material defect. It is not likely that you will be able to recover against a home inspector. Determining whether or not a house is on a sewer or a septic tank is outside the scope of most home inspections. If you would like to pursue this matter, you should consult an experienced real estate lawyer in your area.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
Attorney Deason is correct. The agent that placed the listing has a duty to get it right. The caveat is that the information he/she obtained from the Seller may have been incorrect. The mandatory Seller's Disclosure should have stated the condition and type of plumbing system the house was on. If you did not receive such a disclosure, then you also have a cause of action against the agent(s). Again, the law is specific about the disclosure of latent material defects. That means the defects are not readily discernible. Public or septic sewer systems are a matter of public record in most county property appraiser sites. If that is the case here, you were on public notice of the type of sewer system the property had. Your best bet is to go after the listing realtor and their broker. Seek the advice of a real property attorney in your area to advise you further. Depending on the information that you received at the time you contracted to purchase the home (Seller's Disclosure, public notice of sewer system, etc.), you may not have grounds to go after anyone.
Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : firstname.lastname@example.org : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.