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View Full Version : Home and Auto Do I have any legal recourse?


BWillie
05-21-2009, 12:09 PM
I recently purchased a home. Nice 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in Olathe. As part of our preconditions we required the seller to make some minor necessary repairs, and to have a licensed heating and cooling company/contractor take a look at the heating and cooling system to make sure it didn't need repairs, was safe, fully functional, and had no prior conditions.

The HVAC system was 27 years old, and I was hesitant to buy the house because of this. But the seller came down an awful lot from their asking price, and I had put in a low offer. The company who services the unit before I bought the house said the HVAC unit was fine, and I think they just added some freon since they were out. I had the seller buy me an AB May home warranty to cover myself if the HVAC unit did fail.

Within the first 3 hours I had the air on, water started gushing out the front of it, and not going out the hose. I figured it the hose probably just needed to be blown out as there was a clog, but come to find out the HVAC system is pretty much f*cked and now it does not even work. I don't know much about HVAC systems, but I was told in essense the A-coil was bad, the furnace had rusted out in the pan or down by the flame, huge freon leaks in the outside and inside, it was unsafe, and a bunch of other things. AB May contends that this is something that was a precondition and they will not repair it under the warranty. The contractor who serviced the unit a month before I closed said there was more or less nothing wrong with the unit. The technician for AB May indicated that if someone had inspected or serviced the HVAC unit and thought that it was fine would of been a complete idiot and/or lying that they even inspected it. He even thought this was something the seller would of had to know about as the problems didn't happen over night.

So tomorrow I'm having my realtor, AB May, and the HVAC company who serviced it come over and have a little pow wow to find out what the hell is going on. My guess is I'm probably screwed, because neither want of them want to pay or admit an error. If none of them want to pay, would I have any legal recourse?

Mr. Flopnuts
05-21-2009, 12:11 PM
If it was in your contract that it would be fixed, you absolutely have recourse. It may take you 3 years to collect on it, but you'll have damages and interest added as well.

Buck
05-21-2009, 12:12 PM
I just did a quick search and AB May is an accredited business in the BBB of Kansas City.

So if anything you can threaten them with that....

Bwana
05-21-2009, 12:13 PM
I would say you do.

Mojo Jojo
05-21-2009, 12:14 PM
If the seller provided a warranty the warranty company or the seller is on the hook. It is up to the warranty company to go after the tech who may have f'ed up. Yes, you have a case, but you will need to pressure the warranty company. If they resist, then get a lawyer.

BWillie
05-21-2009, 12:18 PM
If it was in your contract that it would be fixed, you absolutely have recourse. It may take you 3 years to collect on it, but you'll have damages and interest added as well.

Yeah, we made an addendum to the contract. We made a list of things that said if you do not do this we will not buy the house. That included having the HVAC serviced to make sure there are no prior conditions or repairs needed to the unit, and that it was fully functional.

If nobody wants to pay, I guess I'll just have to go to small claims court and shell out 4 grand for a new HVAC unit and try to collect. That will be a pain in the ass, and who knows what documentation I will need as it is a technical HVAC issue that I know nothing about.

Buck
05-21-2009, 12:20 PM
Yeah, we made an addendum to the contract. We made a list of things that said if you do not do this we will not buy the house. That included having the HVAC serviced to make sure there are no prior conditions or repairs needed to the unit, and that it was fully functional.

If nobody wants to pay, I guess I'll just have to go to small claims court and shell out 4 grand for a new HVAC unit and try to collect. That will be a pain in the ass, and who knows what documentation I will need as it is a technical HVAC issue that I know nothing about.

Do you have any lawyer friends, or does your wife, or maybe either of your parents?

tooge
05-21-2009, 12:28 PM
You dont need heating or A/C in Olathe. It's always 70 degrees and partly cloudy. No?

blaise
05-21-2009, 12:37 PM
Did the heating and cooling guy give you a written report?

blaise
05-21-2009, 12:39 PM
And didn't your inspector turn it on or look at it or anything?

mikeyis4dcats.
05-21-2009, 12:47 PM
should have had a home inspection or had your OWN service tech evaluate the system. You are probably going to get hosed.

BWillie
05-21-2009, 12:47 PM
And didn't your inspector turn it on or look at it or anything?

Yeah, the heater was technically working, but the mechanical inspector saw a little bit of rust near the flame, but he didn't really seem to make it out to be a huge issue. He said we should get the HVAC unit looked at by a HVAC professional to make sure it didn't need repairs and was in good working order. Probably to cover himself as well as he's not a HVAC professional, I don't know.

BWillie
05-21-2009, 12:48 PM
Do you have any lawyer friends, or does your wife, or maybe either of your parents?

My girlfriend's dad is a criminal defense attorney. Don't know what he does with civil stuff though.

kepp
05-21-2009, 12:50 PM
I'm convinced that the whole realtor/appraiser/contractor/builder/inspector process is just one big fixed network of people who screw people over. Like when we refinanced a couple of years ago. The bank needed the house appraised (understandable) but they would only use an appraiser of their choosing. If the appraisal came in above a certain amount we would get a better rate or some crap (don't remember exactly now). Low and behold, the appraisal came in EXACTLY at the amount that was set and we didn't "qualify" for the best deal. What BS.

Buck
05-21-2009, 12:53 PM
I'm convinced that the whole realtor/appraiser/contractor/builder/inspector process is just one big fixed network of people who screw people over. Like when we refinanced a couple of years ago. The bank needed the house appraised (understandable) but they would only use an appraiser of their choosing. If the appraisal came in above a certain amount we would get a better rate or some crap (don't remember exactly now). Low and behold, the appraisal came in EXACTLY at the amount that was set and we didn't "qualify" for the best deal. What BS.

Sounds like Auto Mechanics

Comanche
05-21-2009, 12:59 PM
I recently purchased a home. Nice 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in Olathe. As part of our preconditions we required the seller to make some minor necessary repairs, and to have a licensed heating and cooling company/contractor take a look at the heating and cooling system to make sure it didn't need repairs, was safe, fully functional, and had no prior conditions.

The HVAC system was 27 years old, and I was hesitant to buy the house because of this. But the seller came down an awful lot from their asking price, and I had put in a low offer. The company who services the unit before I bought the house said the HVAC unit was fine, and I think they just added some freon since they were out. I had the seller buy me an AB May home warranty to cover myself if the HVAC unit did fail.

Within the first 3 hours I had the air on, water started gushing out the front of it, and not going out the hose. I figured it the hose probably just needed to be blown out as there was a clog, but come to find out the HVAC system is pretty much f*cked and now it does not even work. I don't know much about HVAC systems, but I was told in essense the A-coil was bad, the furnace had rusted out in the pan or down by the flame, huge freon leaks in the outside and inside, it was unsafe, and a bunch of other things. AB May contends that this is something that was a precondition and they will not repair it under the warranty. The contractor who serviced the unit a month before I closed said there was more or less nothing wrong with the unit. The technician for AB May indicated that if someone had inspected or serviced the HVAC unit and thought that it was fine would of been a complete idiot and/or lying that they even inspected it. He even thought this was something the seller would of had to know about as the problems didn't happen over night.

So tomorrow I'm having my realtor, AB May, and the HVAC company who serviced it come over and have a little pow wow to find out what the hell is going on. My guess is I'm probably screwed, because neither want of them want to pay or admit an error. If none of them want to pay, would I have any legal recourse?

Here's the deal. . .

1. When you purchased your home, the sellers signed a DISCLOSURE form. The form lists all of the known problems with the home. Was the HVAC unit listed on the disclosure form?

2. When you purchased the home, an INSPECTION was conducted of the house. What company completed the inspection? Was anything said about the HVAC unit on the inspection form? It sounds from your description that the mechanical inspector pointed out that the unit looked dubious and needed to be looked at.

3. Many home sales these days include an appliance warranty as a part of the deal. Was an appliance warranty a part of your purchase transaction?

4. "We made a list of things that said if you do not do this we will not buy the house. That included having the HVAC serviced to make sure there are no prior conditions or repairs needed to the unit, and that it was fully functional."

This clause would have been effective had you exercised it PRIOR to the closing or prior to taking possession of the house. The seller should have provided you with evidence that they had complied with the requirements PRIOR to closing. Since you took possession it seems as though you waived your written requirements.

In my opinion, your best hope is to negotiate a settlement with the Realtor. Your seller is not likely on the hook unless the seller had known of the problem and failed to disclose the problem. The seller may also be on the hook if he had made any assurances concerning the unit, informing you that it was in great condition and etc. Since you didn't say the seller made such assurances and he disclosed the unit was an older model, I doubt the seller is on the hook. Since the inspection service actually pointed out problems with the unit and suggested it be looked at, it is not likely the mechanical inspector would be on the hook. If, however, the mechanical inspector approved the unit on the inspection form, you may have some luck there.

1. The Realtor is a professional and case law seems to indicate that even if a realtor doesn't know about such problems, as a professional, he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THE PROBLEM. Again, you don't want to actually take the realtor to court but with some negotiation, you might get him to agree to refund some of the commission.

2. The company that conducted the inspection had to have signed some form indicating their opinion of the condition of the home. If that company indicated that the HVAC unit was inspected and found to be OK, perhaps you may have some recourse against that company? Again, stay out of court if you can but try to negotiate a settlement. Inspection people don't get a ton of money for the service so your most likely source of real money is the realtor.

3. I doubt that you will have any luck against the company that serviced the unit. That company just provided an opinion to you based upon their experience with the unit.



I am not an attorney. . .this is just my opinion.

BWillie
05-21-2009, 01:32 PM
Here's the deal. . .

1. When you purchased your home, the sellers signed a DISCLOSURE form. The form lists all of the known problems with the home. Was the HVAC unit listed on the disclosure form?

2. When you purchased the home, an INSPECTION was conducted of the house. What company completed the inspection? Was anything said about the HVAC unit on the inspection form? It sounds from your description that the mechanical inspector pointed out that the unit looked dubious and needed to be looked at.

3. Many home sales these days include an appliance warranty as a part of the deal. Was an appliance warranty a part of your purchase transaction?

4. "We made a list of things that said if you do not do this we will not buy the house. That included having the HVAC serviced to make sure there are no prior conditions or repairs needed to the unit, and that it was fully functional."

This clause would have been effective had you exercised it PRIOR to the closing or prior to taking possession of the house. The seller should have provided you with evidence that they had complied with the requirements PRIOR to closing. Since you took possession it seems as though you waived your written requirements.

In my opinion, your best hope is to negotiate a settlement with the Realtor. Your seller is not likely on the hook unless the seller had known of the problem and failed to disclose the problem. The seller may also be on the hook if he had made any assurances concerning the unit, informing you that it was in great condition and etc. Since you didn't say the seller made such assurances and he disclosed the unit was an older model, I doubt the seller is on the hook. Since the inspection service actually pointed out problems with the unit and suggested it be looked at, it is not likely the mechanical inspector would be on the hook. If, however, the mechanical inspector approved the unit on the inspection form, you may have some luck there.

1. The Realtor is a professional and case law seems to indicate that even if a realtor doesn't know about such problems, as a professional, he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THE PROBLEM. Again, you don't want to actually take the realtor to court but with some negotiation, you might get him to agree to refund some of the commission.

2. The company that conducted the inspection had to have signed some form indicating their opinion of the condition of the home. If that company indicated that the HVAC unit was inspected and found to be OK, perhaps you may have some recourse against that company? Again, stay out of court if you can but try to negotiate a settlement. Inspection people don't get a ton of money for the service so your most likely source of real money is the realtor.

3. I doubt that you will have any luck against the company that serviced the unit. That company just provided an opinion to you based upon their experience with the unit.



I am not an attorney. . .this is just my opinion.

Blah, taking away my agents commission. That may be hard, but if worst case scenario, you gotta do what you gotta do. I wonder if the insurance for the contractor who serviced the HVAC unit would take care of anything if he made an error in looking at it and it's condition?

blaise
05-21-2009, 01:38 PM
Blah, taking away my agents commission. That may be hard, but if worst case scenario, you gotta do what you gotta do. I wonder if the insurance for the contractor who serviced the HVAC unit would take care of anything if he made an error in looking at it and it's condition?

I doubt it. They're insuring him for breaking stuff, not incompetence.
Maybe if someone else had put an offer on the home, had an inspection done, noticed the problem, notified the seller, and then backed out of the deal you could have recourse against the sellers. I don't know how you'd prove it though.

mikeyis4dcats.
05-21-2009, 01:41 PM
Here's the deal. . .

1. When you purchased your home, the sellers signed a DISCLOSURE form. The form lists all of the known problems with the home. Was the HVAC unit listed on the disclosure form?
VERY HARD TO PROVE KNOWLEDGE AND INTENT TO DEFRAUD
2. When you purchased the home, an INSPECTION was conducted of the house. What company completed the inspection? Was anything said about the HVAC unit on the inspection form? It sounds from your description that the mechanical inspector pointed out that the unit looked dubious and needed to be looked at.

3. Many home sales these days include an appliance warranty as a part of the deal. Was an appliance warranty a part of your purchase transaction?
HVAC EQUIPMENT IS NOT AN APPLIANCE
4. "We made a list of things that said if you do not do this we will not buy the house. That included having the HVAC serviced to make sure there are no prior conditions or repairs needed to the unit, and that it was fully functional."

This clause would have been effective had you exercised it PRIOR to the closing or prior to taking possession of the house. The seller should have provided you with evidence that they had complied with the requirements PRIOR to closing. Since you took possession it seems as though you waived your written requirements.

In my opinion, your best hope is to negotiate a settlement with the Realtor. Your seller is not likely on the hook unless the seller had known of the problem and failed to disclose the problem. The seller may also be on the hook if he had made any assurances concerning the unit, informing you that it was in great condition and etc. Since you didn't say the seller made such assurances and he disclosed the unit was an older model, I doubt the seller is on the hook. Since the inspection service actually pointed out problems with the unit and suggested it be looked at, it is not likely the mechanical inspector would be on the hook. If, however, the mechanical inspector approved the unit on the inspection form, you may have some luck there.

1. The Realtor is a professional and case law seems to indicate that even if a realtor doesn't know about such problems, as a professional, he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THE PROBLEM. Again, you don't want to actually take the realtor to court but with some negotiation, you might get him to agree to refund some of the commission.

2. The company that conducted the inspection had to have signed some form indicating their opinion of the condition of the home. If that company indicated that the HVAC unit was inspected and found to be OK, perhaps you may have some recourse against that company? Again, stay out of court if you can but try to negotiate a settlement. Inspection people don't get a ton of money for the service so your most likely source of real money is the realtor.

3. I doubt that you will have any luck against the company that serviced the unit. That company just provided an opinion to you based upon their experience with the unit.



I am not an attorney. . .this is just my opinion.

See my comments in red.

Dave Lane
05-21-2009, 02:32 PM
Not worth the effort unless they volunteer. Not that expensive anyway and knowing it was 27 years old what did you expect? It to last another 27? Also the efficiency of the new unit will offset the cost of putting it in quickly so it maybe a mixed blessing. The payback on 2-3k is pretty quick. Lawyers will rack that much up in a week.

blaise
05-21-2009, 02:33 PM
If you paid for the HVAC inspection you can probably get a refund on that at least.

Redrum_69
05-21-2009, 02:35 PM
well first of all...you moved to Olathe.

welcome to West Side of Raytown....or...to put it in a more enlightening perspective...welcome to Methlathe

Mr. Flopnuts
05-21-2009, 02:38 PM
well first of all...you moved to Olathe.

welcome to West Side of Raytown....or...to put it in a more enlightening perspective...welcome to Methlathe

At least it's always sunny and 72.

BWillie
05-21-2009, 03:00 PM
well first of all...you moved to Olathe.

welcome to West Side of Raytown....or...to put it in a more enlightening perspective...welcome to Methlathe

Olathe isn't southern overland park but unless you live close to downtown Olathe it is pretty nice.

38yrsfan
05-21-2009, 03:16 PM
http://www.whocanisue.com/

Skip Towne
05-21-2009, 03:36 PM
Sounds like Auto Mechanics

Sauto will get you for that.

Iowanian
05-21-2009, 03:41 PM
Open the windows and save yourself $4k this summer.

JASONSAUTO
05-21-2009, 05:16 PM
Sounds like Auto Mechanics

damn buck why go there?

JASONSAUTO
05-21-2009, 05:18 PM
Sauto will get you for that.

ROFL fucking skippy:D

bevischief
05-21-2009, 06:15 PM
Pull my finger...

NCarlsCorner2
05-21-2009, 07:42 PM
I recently purchased a home. Nice 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in Olathe. As part of our preconditions we required the seller to make some minor necessary repairs, and to have a licensed heating and cooling company/contractor take a look at the heating and cooling system to make sure it didn't need repairs, was safe, fully functional, and had no prior conditions.

The HVAC system was 27 years old, and I was hesitant to buy the house because of this. But the seller came down an awful lot from their asking price, and I had put in a low offer. The company who services the unit before I bought the house said the HVAC unit was fine, and I think they just added some freon since they were out. I had the seller buy me an AB May home warranty to cover myself if the HVAC unit did fail.

Within the first 3 hours I had the air on, water started gushing out the front of it, and not going out the hose. I figured it the hose probably just needed to be blown out as there was a clog, but come to find out the HVAC system is pretty much f*cked and now it does not even work. I don't know much about HVAC systems, but I was told in essense the A-coil was bad, the furnace had rusted out in the pan or down by the flame, huge freon leaks in the outside and inside, it was unsafe, and a bunch of other things. AB May contends that this is something that was a precondition and they will not repair it under the warranty. The contractor who serviced the unit a month before I closed said there was more or less nothing wrong with the unit. The technician for AB May indicated that if someone had inspected or serviced the HVAC unit and thought that it was fine would of been a complete idiot and/or lying that they even inspected it. He even thought this was something the seller would of had to know about as the problems didn't happen over night.

So tomorrow I'm having my realtor, AB May, and the HVAC company who serviced it come over and have a little pow wow to find out what the hell is going on. My guess is I'm probably screwed, because neither want of them want to pay or admit an error. If none of them want to pay, would I have any legal recourse?

Is there signs of rust lines running down the outside of the furnace cabinet, if so take pictures because I guarantee that didnt happen overnight.

Bacon Cheeseburger
05-21-2009, 09:57 PM
I'm convinced that the whole realtor/appraiser/contractor/builder/inspector process is just one big fixed network of people who screw people over.
Pretty much.



Anyway, you should have known that an HVAC system that was 27 yrs old was on borrowed time, regardless of the situation at the time it was serviced. You were going to be replacing soon anyway.

Phobia
05-21-2009, 10:04 PM
I'm convinced that the whole realtor/appraiser/contractor/builder/inspector process is just one big fixed network of people who screw people over. Like when we refinanced a couple of years ago. The bank needed the house appraised (understandable) but they would only use an appraiser of their choosing. If the appraisal came in above a certain amount we would get a better rate or some crap (don't remember exactly now). Low and behold, the appraisal came in EXACTLY at the amount that was set and we didn't "qualify" for the best deal. What BS.

It depends on who you work with. But I'm not sure why contractor got thrown in there. I treat people with utmost respect and give everybody a fair deal.

Phobia
05-21-2009, 10:05 PM
If you're replacing the AC get the furnace done too.

kstater
05-22-2009, 04:38 AM
I'd hate to see the efficiancy on an almost 30 year old system. The energy savings will pay off the new system fairly quickly.

Mile High Mania
05-22-2009, 04:48 AM
Well, it sounds like you had concerns about the HVAC system before signing... they dropped their asking price, you liked it ... the HVAC system was looked at and received the stamp of "fine" form the service company. I'm sure the seller knew about the problems, but with a 27 year old system... you should have had someone come in and give it a serious look.

The seller signed, you signed... now it's your house and your having issues with a 27 year old HVAC.

I think you're going to need to budget for a replacement.

Coach
05-22-2009, 05:01 AM
Well, it sounds like you had concerns about the HVAC system before signing... they dropped their asking price, you liked it ... the HVAC system was looked at and received the stamp of "fine" form the service company. I'm sure the seller knew about the problems, but with a 27 year old system... you should have had someone come in and give it a serious look.

The seller signed, you signed... now it's your house and your having issues with a 27 year old HVAC.

I think you're going to need to budget for a replacement.

Sounds like it. Or he could do the oldest trick in the book. Burn his house down to get insurance money out of it, without any evidence of tampering or a deliberate attempt to burn it.

Comanche
05-22-2009, 06:48 AM
Not worth the effort unless they volunteer. Not that expensive anyway and knowing it was 27 years old what did you expect? It to last another 27? Also the efficiency of the new unit will offset the cost of putting it in quickly so it maybe a mixed blessing. The payback on 2-3k is pretty quick. Lawyers will rack that much up in a week.

Good post!

BWillie
05-23-2009, 06:52 PM
Well, it sounds like you had concerns about the HVAC system before signing... they dropped their asking price, you liked it ... the HVAC system was looked at and received the stamp of "fine" form the service company. I'm sure the seller knew about the problems, but with a 27 year old system... you should have had someone come in and give it a serious look.

The seller signed, you signed... now it's your house and your having issues with a 27 year old HVAC.

I think you're going to need to budget for a replacement.

Someone did come in for a serious look, that was part of the conditions. I know it is an old system, and I was planning on replacing it in a couple years. That was the whole point of the warranty. They will repair it in the meantime until I can get enough funds to replace the HVAC unit. I just closed on I a house. I don't have six grand to replace a unit right now.

We have a receipt from the licensed HVAC tech that says no cracks or holes were found and the furnace was in safe working condition. Also said the AC unit worked fine. AB May took pictures and found HUGE cracks and holes that they felt were unsafe and said I could and probably likely would get carbon monoxide poisoning if I used the furnace. Seller says they replaced freon only one time in last two years. AB May feels that it is impossible that freon only had been added once in the last two years because there are HUGE freon leaks inside and out. Basically AB May will not pay for anything as they are saying it is a precondition, so I'm going to try to settle with this HVAC tech, which won't happen. Additionally, nothing is on the disclosure about any of this. So I'm just screwed.

nstygma
05-23-2009, 07:15 PM
So I'm just screwed.can you post an image of the HVAC inspection without your personal info?
i would really like to see their report

Bacon Cheeseburger
05-23-2009, 07:17 PM
Someone did come in for a serious look, that was part of the conditions. I know it is an old system, and I was planning on replacing it in a couple years. That was the whole point of the warranty. They will repair it in the meantime until I can get enough funds to replace the HVAC unit. I just closed on I a house. I don't have six grand to replace a unit right now.

We have a receipt from the licensed HVAC tech that says no cracks or holes were found and the furnace was in safe working condition. Also said the AC unit worked fine. AB May took pictures and found HUGE cracks and holes that they felt were unsafe and said I could and probably likely would get carbon monoxide poisoning if I used the furnace. Seller says they replaced freon only one time in last two years. AB May feels that it is impossible that freon only had been added once in the last two years because there are HUGE freon leaks inside and out. Basically AB May will not pay for anything as they are saying it is a precondition, so I'm going to try to settle with this HVAC tech, which won't happen. Additionally, nothing is on the disclosure about any of this. So I'm just screwed.
That's what I figured, just because the system was OK at the time of inspection doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot. You would've been better off asking them to replace it as opposed to beating them down on the price.

kstater
05-23-2009, 07:25 PM
I still can't come to terms that an almost 30 year old system just broke down out of the blue.

BWillie
05-23-2009, 07:37 PM
can you post an image of the HVAC inspection without your personal info?
i would really like to see their report

It's not much of a report. It just says "Cleaned furnace. Inspected furnace. No cracks or holes found. Furnace safe at this time", and then goes on to talk about the AC unit.

Based on how big the cracks were, and how many there where, they were there is no way they formed over night. This guy just did a quick inspect to appease the seller and went on his way. What if I turned on my furnace and keeled over dead from carbon monoxide poisoning?

luv
05-23-2009, 07:40 PM
So, did you have the inspection done, or did the seller? Did you have the home inspected before you purchased it?

nstygma
05-23-2009, 11:35 PM
....and to have a licensed heating and cooling company/contractor take a look at the heating and cooling system to make sure it didn't need repairs, was safe, fully functional, and had no prior conditions.
was that the exact wording in your contract?
does your agent and the listing agent work for the same company?