Profile picture for mp21113

we got scammed!!!!

Ok, we just moved into our house 6 days ago! Found water stain in dining room ceiling, called plumber. When plumber opened the ceiling found up there an aluminum pan which was holding water drips from the pipe!!  I guess the pan overflowed and this was the water we were getting on the ceiling.

We got the house through a relocation company, we still dealt with Long & Foster. Homeowners moved to FL over 7 months ago so we know it wasn't them who did it (pan not big enough to hold water for 7 months!).  Realtor who we bought it from  (and got insurance from)say they only cover NEW problems.  We think L&F knew about this!

 

Our inspector didn't find any problems at the time of inspection.

How do we go about this? We already spent $200 just to get a plumber to check out the problem. Its going to cost another $250 to repair it.

  • March 05 2008 - US
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Answers (38)

Profile picture for gvw3
  • gvw3
  • 202 contributions

Was it a leak or just a pipe sweating?

  • March 05 2008
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contact an attorney asap.

  • March 05 2008
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Was the house vacant and with the relocation company agency? Was there a Seller disclosure form ? did you read it, did you sign it?

 

  • March 05 2008
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Profile picture for file10

Will the lawyer cost more than the $250 to have it repaired?

  • March 05 2008
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i think that is going to depend on how extensive the damage really is. there may be issues that you can't immediately see.  what did the property disclosure forms say? or were there any?

  • March 05 2008
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Profile picture for planetwalker2

I think your legal position may have been compromised a bit when you had an inspection and they didn't catch it. Especially if YOU hired them. They have a disclaimer that protects them, so some don't care about omissions like not finding a pan under a pipe.

  • March 05 2008
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Profile picture for bamkmartin

I would contact CSI Miami and have H and the gang get fingerprints from the drip pan!

 

Seriously, you are in a pickle.  You should first fix the problem but will probably have to pay out of pocket.  .  You have to protect your house first and foremost.  There are several parties who I would seriously consider filing action in small claims court against:  The home inspector, the original owner, relocation company and the sellers real estate agent.  This is an obvious cover up job by someone.   You would be surprised by the power of the small claims court and your ability to obtain justice in small financial dealing such as this.  My unique ability to spot a cover-up points to the relocation company.

  • March 06 2008
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>> When plumber opened the ceiling found up there an aluminum pan which was holding

>> water drips from the pipe!!

 

 

> I think your legal position may have been compromised a bit when you had an inspection

> and they didn't catch it.

 

 

Assuming that problem was actually "within" the ceiling, and not something like a A/C condensate pan in the attic with a plugged drain line, if no stain was "visually apparent" at the time of inspection then discovering the problem would have been outside the scope of a home inspection - if the plumber had to "open the ceiling", presumably the inspector would have had to do the same, and we are not allowed to go knocking holes in ceilings and walls - at best if we ahve reason to suspect moistire problems we can put a moisture meter on the area, and recommend that the ceiling or wall be opened to discover the cause if moisture is elevated.

 

So IMO the home inspection would not be an issue unless there was a visiable stain at the time of inspection.

 

If MP21113 has pictures of whatever the plumber found I'd be interested to seeing them - they might help us determine what happened.

  • March 06 2008
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Profile picture for mp21113

There was no way to know this was INSIDE THE CEILING. How could the inspector catch this? The water in the house had been shut, they got water running once we did the inspection. There was no way the pan had any water. It didn't start to get filled until after we moved and started to take showers.

 

we are going to fix the problem first and then see what we can get back. It's going to cost some $600 to get a lawyer. This is probably the same amount of money it will cost to repair. Not sure if its worth going after the realtors.

  • March 07 2008
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Profile picture for mp21113

I'll

  • March 07 2008
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Profile picture for mp21113

 

I'll get pictures and post them.

  • March 07 2008
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Profile picture for mp21113

The leak is caused because of the kind of shower we have. it is one of those that is all one piece (including floor, walls). When you stand on the shower you push down on this floor which gives way and puts pressure on the pipe.

  • March 07 2008
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Profile picture for . . .

I would consider a small claims court against the seller; but still, may not be worth the agrivation and time if you can do all the repair for less than $500.

 

The seller could claim they didn't know either; but to me, it sounds like you had an old shower-pan that was abandoned, and a new shower installed above.

 

Still, it is not clear, are you taking about the drain line leaking?  Normally the water supply lines would not be below the shower floor, and if a water supply was leaking, it would be dripping all the time.

 

Since the shower is probably newer and didn't get used much, and maybe only children, the sellers probably had no clue of a potential problem, and likely the pipe had not cracked or separated at that point.

 

But, if not installed properly, you may be able to sue their installer in small claims court, or possibly get them to do the repair at no cost.

 

 

  • March 07 2008
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Profile picture for 2 Big 2 Fail

An attorney is going to cost more than the repair.  In fact, I would be shocked if an attorney took such a petty case.  Just forget about it and move on!

  • March 07 2008
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Profile picture for gunner69

Check your home inspection report that you signed. It probably states that they are only liable for paying you back the inspection fee if they missed something. They cover their butts pretty well!

  • March 07 2008
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You don't use an attorney in small claims court; you can sue for up to $5,000, and the filing fee is only about $50.  Small claims is specifically for cases like this, but you need to make sure you know which party caused the probem, and have sufficient evidence that it was either negligence or intentional deceipt.  In other words, photos, documentation, dates, recepts,... and analysis.

 

If you could find the shower installer, they may just fix it for you without charge.

 

 

 

  • March 08 2008
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Profile picture for mp21113

yes, seems like the shower is the one that caused this mess.

 

  • March 08 2008
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"We think L&F knew about this!"

 

Why?

  • March 08 2008
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Depends on WHEN the shower was installed, and HOW MUCH it was used after being installed before being placed on market.

 

If it was installed under the direction of L&F, and no one used it, then no-one "knew", but the installer should still be responsible for his work.

 

If it was installed under the direction of the previous owner, then likely the owner "knew" if the shower was used at all?  But possibly only had small childen, thus not heavy enough to put any stress on the drain line?  Then still no-one "knew".  But if recently installed, the installer should still be responsible for his work.

 

Can you contact the previous owner and find out about the shower installation?  Is there any documentation on the shower installation in the sales material?  Is there any date, store tag, or other "inventory" markings on the bottom of the shower now that it is accessible?

 

You can't get the installer to fix it if you can't find the installer.  And if neither the previous owner nor L&F used the shower, they likely would not know.

 

As mentioned earlier, for a "case" you would either have to show "neglect" or "deciept"; otherwise just get it fixed properly.

 

  • March 08 2008
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Profile picture for freetown1

I had the same problem with the pipes under my shower.  After renovating the house, the cleaner stood in the shower and turned it on to clean it, and the water started pouring 5 minutes later. We later tracked the deteched pipe. it looked like it had been repaired several times.

How can one change the shower floor in these moulded showers?  How can one make sure that it does not press on the pipes?  Does a repaired pipe last, if the pressure is put on it again?

Thanks,

K

  • March 08 2008
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If you place proper support under the shower floor, there will be no preasure on the drain pipe.

 

Even if you have to take the ceiling out from underneath, you still could get additional supports and brackets installed.  You also could support the pipe; but you want to make sure that movement on one end of the pipe will not stress the pipe.

 

If the floor of a molded shower is damaged, you probably have to replace entirely; but some are "assemblies" where the walls are sold separate from the floor-pan.  Under some conditions, calking is possible; but it sounds to me like the issue is not the floor of the shower, but the lack of support for the shower floor.

 

If the manufacturer's installation instructions were followed, likely there would be no problem.

 

  • March 08 2008
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Profile picture for freetown1

Thank you, pasadenan.

You really know your stuff.

 

  • March 10 2008
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Profile picture for file10

Check to see if a plumbing permit was pulled at town hall. If the shower unit is not damaged you should be able to fix the problem at a small cost (as stated above).    If the shower unit is damaged and needs to be replaced, ....well,good luck.

You could call your local building inspecter and ask for his advice.  Thats thier job.

  • March 10 2008
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Profile picture for SavvyCat

Most warrantys will cover problems that were not known or could not have been detected at the time of inspection.  If the water was shut off to the house, and the inspector was out before the water was turned on, I think it would qualify under the "could not have been detected" part.  Most home warranty companies will do ANYTHING to not pay on something, so you have to make sure you phrase it exactly right when you call to make a claim.  Good luck!

  • March 13 2008
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Profile picture for Luv2cook

I would think it goes on the inspector and his responsibility to find that issue.  That's what he has general liability insurance for!!!!

  • March 15 2008
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Inspectors write in disclaimers on their reports for items that could not be seen (hidden under the floor or above a ceiling).  And if the water was off until just prior to inspection, there would have been no leak to cause a stain on the ceiling.

 

Even if you had the money to pay for the kind of though inspection that might have found the problem earlier, it is likely you still wouldn't find anyone to do it.   No one is going to cut ceilings open to see if pipes were installed properly, and even if they did, they still might not see a crack or poorly glued fitting.  Though you could have infrared pictures taken of every wall and every floor and every ceiling that MAY show additional data, the cameras are very expensive and typically used only for looking for specific types of potentially anticipated problems.

 

As stated before, if a permit was pulled, use that to find the contractor that installed the shower; explain the situation, and they will likely come out and correct the problem they caused at no additional cost.  You could take the contractor to small claims court, but it is easier just to get them to fix the problem.

 

If no permit and you can't locate the contractor; just fix it and don't worry about it.

 

  • March 16 2008
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Profile picture for dcolt

this sounds similiar to what happened when I bought my house... the inspector turned on the shower and I (not intentionaly) distracted him with a question. he showed me something on the other side of the house (shower still running) and when we went downstairs the pan under the shower had filled up and the ceiling had come down right under the upstairs shower. the owner payed for all of the repairs but it woulda been a disaster if it had not been caught beforehand.

 

DC

  • March 17 2008
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Profile picture for lady_jb

Did I miss something here? I thought most all ceilings have a access crawl space, though it may be small, if the inspector did not go up there how could he have found it?

  • March 28 2008
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"An attorney is going to cost more than the repair. In fact, I would be shocked if an attorney took such a petty case. Just forget about it and move on!"

 

I am not shocked to hear this advice coming from someone who "paints over" water damage....

  • March 31 2008
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Profile picture for Mr Caveat

well in NJ you can get that premium for painted water damage^_)^

 

i would also consider looking for mold, if that pan had standing water(you don't know) then there is a good chance there was A LOT of moisture in the area between ceeling and floor, especially if the pan had ever overflowed. it might not even be in the immidiate location either.

 

have an attourney write a letter or make a phone call(you can sometimes get this kind of work done free) and see what they offer to settle... i bet they are willing

  • April 05 2008
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