Profile picture for cunninghamciara

Bought a house under the contingency electrical panel was replaced and GFI outlets installed kitchen

Moved in, started hearing electrical popping sounds. Called city building code, turns out they needed to have the electrical panel inspected and needed a permit to replace panel. But never hired one. If this was a contingency to purchasing the house, what do we do? Who is liable for fixing the problem now? If we had an electrical fire, wouldn't it be on them for not doing the legal thing and having it inspected by the city?
  • January 12 2014 - Blue Springs
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Answers (9)

Profile picture for Ask Cathy
Before I immediately contacted an attorney I would contact my agent and schedule a meeting with the agent and their broker and review the contract. The stipulations in the contract will direct you to your next step.  The short answer is even if the seller did have it repaired or replaced and someone did the job incorrectly. The liability falls on your agent in the end. Usually on something that major a re-inspection is necessary to make the job was completed correctly. 
  • March 10 2014
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Who is liable now . . . 

First and foremost - you are. You need to solve this problem ASAP, because electrical fires are not fun. You can't wait until the seller agrees to pay for it. The short answer is that you hire a licensed electrician to come out and replace the panel or repair the existing one, if possible.

We can't advise you on your legal rights against the seller or anyone else; that's an attorney's job. It may be worth having an attorney write a letter to the seller, and they may cough up enough dough to satisfy you.

But, safety first! 

All the best,
  • January 13 2014
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
At this point, you need to check exactly how the contingency was written into the purchase offer that was signed by both parties.  

Then, if it indeed does say that the panel had to be replaced and it hasn't been done with permits, go see an attorney.    Meanwhile, you may wish to get a quote of having it done properly as the attorney may be the more expensive route.

  • January 13 2014
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I think the main question I have for you is, "How exactly was the contingency written in the amendment?".  Did your agent specify the work be done by a "qualified 3rd party?"  Did your agent add in, "in a good and workmanlike manner" or something to that affect? 

My suggestion to you would be to sit down with your agent and your agent's broker.  They can usually answer any questions you may have of your next step.  They might be able to tell you what your options are or at least refer you to someone who can review the paperwork and help.  If this doesn't work go directly to the listing agent's company.  More often then not, broker's want their clients to be happy...buyer's and sellers can do a lot of damage when they are left unhappy and they can usually fix it without you having to proceed with legal consequences. 

Hope this helps!
  • January 13 2014
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Profile picture for cunninghamciara
We did contact our agent, she said they provided a receipt. The receipt is from a maintenance company and they did all of the other "fix ups" as well to qualify for VA. THE CATCH IS THAT THE REALTOR WAS THE HOME OWNER AND THE ELECTRICIAN WAS HER UNCLE. We will have a an electrician come out and look at it and I may call the city building code office again, but I'm at a loss with what to do if they discover something was done incorrectly since it was a contingency to replace before we even purchased. I guess I'm worried and frustrated because this house was full of secrets that we didn't discover until moving in..Which I guess is normal in some aspect for home buyers, but most of the repair work done by the family that left and cosmetic work was all done half @$$ed and were worried the electrical panel might be the same.
  • January 13 2014
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As a new home owner, you are learning all sorts of things about your home. The answer to your question may involve the advice of an attorney. Before contacting an attorney, review your contract with your agent. Many times the agent can get problems resolved. It would have been good if you saw the "signed off" permits by the city and the paid invoice from a licensed electrician prior to closing escrow. Since you now own the property, if you purchased a home warranty, contact the home warranty company. They may be able to assist you with this issue. You can contact a licensed electrician and have them evaluate the work previously done. They can also give you a cost estimate to correct any work needing to be done. If the issues require immediate attention, you may want to address it now and then figure out who should pay for it later.
  • January 12 2014
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
This is a really tough situation to be in.     It becomes particularly tough because you probably signed a document saying that you accepted the home as it was on the day of signing.  This means there were some actions that you were supposed to take before signing, such as confirming the work was done (and to code) that apparently didn't happen. 

I don't know if you can rescue this on their dime, but I'd start by calling your agent for some contacts and then review the situation with a real estate attorney.

  • January 12 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
The seller is responsible to comply with your contract. I would find out how much the problem will take to fix with permits and document how the last owner left it with photos and estimates before any work is done.

You may need to sue to get the money for the repair, but if the sale was contingent on the repair in in your contract you should be able to collect. Get your evidence, line up your legal ducks and then send a demand letter for the amount of the repair. Also check with your title company to see if they still have any funds that they can hold pending your repair.
  • January 12 2014
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The problem might just be yours now since you should have checked to see these were actually completed before you closed. Once closed you pretty much assume everything is ok. Your only other remedy might be to sue and give it a try.
  • January 12 2014
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