What can I do?
I have had to take out a Home Equity line of credit to do the re-pipe before I have another leak that the insurance won't cover. My water lines are above the ceiling. I'm 73 years old and still working 40+ hours a week to get by. Do I have any recourse at this late date?
4 attorney answers
While it is possible that you have a good cause of action against your home inspector or the seller, it is unlikely. Most home inspection contracts contain a provision that the inspector's liability for mistakes to the cost or the inspection. Many inspectors do not carry E & O insurance.
With respect to a Johnson v. Davis action against your sellers, sellers are only required to give you notice of defects in the home about which they have actual knowledge. Most homeowners have no idea of the type of pipes used in their plumbing. To win a J v. D case you would have to prove that your seller did have actual knowledge of the pipes and did not disclose it to you.
It is probably worth talking to an experienced real estate litigator about your case, but, unfortunately, it is likely that your loss is one for which there is no legal recovery.
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.
You should consult a real estate litigation attorney right away. There are statutes of limitations for contracts which may have passed. Generally, sellers must disclose latent (hidden) defects which would affect the value of the property if the seller had actual knowledge of the defect. These actions are called Johnson v Davis cases and the contract likely also had language that the seller knew of no hidden defects.
One of the first issues you need to examine is whether there was an inspection conducted on your property by a home inspector PRIOR to your purchase. Generally PB pipes are noted on the inspection and flagged on most any 4.0 point inspection for that exact reason - most insurance carriers won't provide insurance or coverage for them. If the inspector missed this - assuming the pipes could be observed, there may be an E&O claim. The other option might be to have a real estate lawyer review the disclosures of the sellers as its possible that they were aware of the PB pipe issue and failed to disclose it and there may be some remedy there to review. Other than that, you are likely on your own repairing or replacing the pipes like any other issue that might exist with older homes.
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There was a couple class action in the 1990s that is closed now, but there is a recent involving FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipes: https://www.classaction.org/cpvc-pipe-lawsuits
The class actions from the 1990s closed out by 2009.
I suggest you contact a couple of different plumbing companies for your re-pipe. There can be a considerable price difference depending on which contractor you choose.
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