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Leaking walls lead to big problems

A leaky basement becomes a contentious issue for home buyers.<br />

We recently purchased a fairly new home and noticed when we were doing our initial visit that they basement showed signs of leaking or weeping through the walls. My realtor made note of this, and when we went to present our offer, we added a clause that indicated any leaking in the basement was to be addressed and properly fixed by the current owner.


When we went to do our final inspection, it didn’t look like anything had been done but we were assured it had been addressed, and therefore we closed the transaction with a holdback of $7000.00 in our lawyers trust account for potential fixing of the problem.


When we took possession, we removed the basement drywall that came halfway down the wall and were able to verify that leaking was still occurring and there had been no remedy of the problem. Our lawyer indicated this to the vendor’s lawyer but received no response for three weeks; in the interim we obtained a estimate and had the work done.


Last week, the vendor showed up on our doorstep and insisted he be allowed access to the property in order to rectify the problem. He was extremely aggressive, so we called the police, who indicated we should cooperate. However, the problem has been fixed and we want to obtain payment for the work done. What should we do?

The first item of concern is that the vendor is contacting you directly. He should be contacting his lawyer who would then be contacting your representative. Secondly, your lawyer should make it clear that the work has been completed because you could not wait for them to respond to your request. It then remains to be seen if the vendor will allow the release of funds to pay your contractor. Typically, you would wait to have the work done after the vendor agreed to the work and the price, but in this case you seem justified in going ahead and getting the work done.


You may, however, have a bit of a fight on your hands.

 
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