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My new home has a leaky roof: What can I do?

There's nothing more disconcerting than settling down into a new home, only to find out that it has a leaky roof. These repairs are not only expensive, but it will require your time and attention to contact the seller and hold him or her accountable for the leaky roof that he or she failed to tell you about.

Here are a few things you should know about your leaky roof and whether or not you can hold the original owner accountable:

  • The seller's knowledge: If the seller was aware that the roof was leaky, but failed to fix it prior to the sale and failed to tell you about the problem, you'll have a better chance of holding the seller financially accountable.
  • A warranty on the roof: Review your closing papers and make sure that there's a certification or roof warranty in your contract. If it's a new home, you probably have a leak-free warranty on the roof that will last a certain length of time. Even older roofs may have a warranty attached to them. Even in cases where the seller is the one financially responsible, with the existence of a third-party guarantee on the roof, it will be easier and faster to get it fixed.
  • The inspection papers: If you had home inspection done, look to see if the inspector referenced the roof problem. When the inspection papers told you about the leak, but you simply overlooked this part of the inspection results, you could be out of luck because it was your responsibility to read them.

There are more things you can do to hold the seller or builder accountable for a leaky roof. Make sure you analyze all your options before you contact anyone or pursue a legal claim to finance the repairs.

Source: SF Gate, "Can a Home Buyer Hold a Seller Responsible for a Roof Leak?," Steve Lander, accessed May 18, 2018

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