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Hello, I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience and will try to help you with this.
Do you know why the water is there? Did you sister in law's surveyor check the work that was done to remedy the problem prior to purchase? The basic rule is that caveat emptor (ie buyer beware) applies and in the absence of some deception or misrepresentation by the vendor the buyer will by the house as it is.
I am in a meeting at the moment but will look at this site in an hour or so.
Understood. It would appear that the main supply into the house has a leak. However, the vendor did engage a plumber who found a broken main drain under the floor of the garage. He assumed that was the fault and that was fixed, prior to completion. However, the plumber clearly did not look closely enough, and the vendor gave assurances that the work had been completed satisfactorily, that the fault had been fixed. My Sister in law then completed. Now, whilst decorating and making some minor repairs, we have found that the water is not only under the original room, but is also throughout the ground floor underfloor. As water was found prior to purchase, and the fault has not been fixed correctly, surely the vendors are still liable for the cost of the additional repairs. The surveyor did not re-check the property after the repairs.
The surveyor did not recheck as the vendor gave assurances that a fault had been found and fixed.
With regard to caveat emptor that principle is accepted. However, as the fault was known before purchase, and not adequately fixed, surely some liability remains with the vendor.
I am not sure that they do. The first thing to be done here is to see how much it will cost to fix the problem which if I understand you correctly is to fix the mains supply that is leaky. It may be that the cost of that repair is too small to make thinking about using lawyers worthwhile.
Hello, I am still here.
Whether you sister in law has a claim though, will depend on the precise nature of the comments made by the vendor. If she did work and genuinely believed it was done and your sister in law did not check this then I don't think your sister will be able to claim against the vendor. I will be offline for the next hour or so but I will look here later this evening.
Since we spoke last my Sister in Law has had some advice from a builder who is doing some other work and he cannot see the leak at the mains supply. He thinks it is coming from somewhere else. He has also noticed dry rot spores floating on the surface of the water. The resolution of this problem is not likely to be cheap I have no confidence in the quality of the original plumbers, but my Sister in Laws solicitor has now been in touch and advised that the pumping out work should happen ASAP. Afetr that further examinations will have to take place. He will now write to the Vendor's solicitor advising them of the problem and we will wait their reply.
That sounds sensible but if there is dry rot your sister in law may need to look to her surveyor for an explanation. They should usually spot that sort of thing, especially if it is a full structural survey.