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Jacksonville Legal Blog

So You Bought A House With A Leaky Roof

You bought a house. You got settled in. Everything was going well, until the first rainfall. Bubbles appeared in the paint. Puddles appeared on the floor. Furniture and other property was damaged by the water intrusion. Having spent so much money on the home, you have a right to be angry. But what do you do next?

Was It Listed In The Disclosure Form Or Purchase Agreement?

In Florida, sellers of real estate have a duty to disclose all known issues that could impact a home’s value or desirability. This includes roof defects. Disclosures may be incorporated into the purchase agreement, but are more likely provided in a separate disclosure form. Check over the disclosure statement to see if any issues with the roof were listed. If not, and there is reason to believe that the seller knew about the roof leak, you may be able to pursue a claim for failure to disclose.

Did The Home Inspector Catch It?

You hired a home inspector to catch anything that may not have been revealed by the seller. Review the home inspection report to see whether the inspector made any comments about the state of the roof or called out any internal water damage or mold that may have been indicative of a roofing problem. If not, in some circumstances, the home inspector may he held accountable for missing the roof defect.

Did The Real Estate Agent Know About It?

While it is not the real estate agent’s job to inspect a home or detect potential defects, he or she does have an obligation to communicate to the buyer any defects that he or she has been made aware of. Unfortunately, there are agents who may make poor choices in order to make a sale. If there is an indication that the seller or another party informed the real estate agent of the roof leak and the agent failed to disclose the defect in the purchase agreement or disclosure statement, the agent may be on the hook.

What If This Is A New Home Or The Roof Was Recently Replaced?

Buying an older home and discovering that the roof leaks is one thing. What if you bought a new home and learned that the roof construction was defective? Maybe you recently hired a contractor to replace or fix your roof, only to learn during a future rainfall that the job was not done properly. Construction companies may be held accountable in these situations, not only for the cost of replacement, but for the cost of repairing any internal damage, including mold abatement. In some situations, there may be warranties that can help you address roof repairs.

What To Do Next

You know that you need to move quickly in order to prevent further costly water damage. Perhaps you have already consulted with a roofing contractor and discovered that a fix will likely cost thousands of dollars, money that you might not have sitting around.

Depending on the specifics of your situation, your homeowners insurance policy may not provide coverage. Who do you turn to? A construction law attorney may be able to help you find the appropriate legal remedy for your leaky roof. At Heekin, Malin & Wenzel, we have decades of experience helping homeowners overcome these challenges.


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