What if the seller of the house fails to disclose previous flooding?

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The information in this column is intended to provide a general understanding of the law, and not as legal advice. Readers with legal issues, including those whose questions are discussed here, should consult attorneys for advice on their particular situation.

Q: My grandson bought his first home four months ago in Southwest Houston. It was not revealed that the house was flooded in 2015. He would not have bought the house had he been aware of the previous flood. Is there any disclosure law regarding previous flooding when buying a home?

A: Assuming your grandson bought his house using a real estate agent and with documents processed by a securities company, then yes, the seller should have completed a form called “Seller Disclosure Notice”.

This form contains a question about previous flooding.

If your grandson wishes to pursue this matter, he should speak to a lawyer and consider suing the seller. Of course, even if he has a critical case, he still has to determine whether filing a complaint is worth his time, effort and money. The seller can be completely judgmental proof, which means that all of the seller’s property may be protected against judgments under Texas law.

It is possible that your grandson purchased the home from the estate of a deceased person or during a foreclosure sale, and if so, the seller would not have been required to complete a disclosure notice. of the seller. If so, your grandson probably has no recourse.

When buying a home, it’s always a good idea to get a CLUE report. This is a report prepared by insurance companies and other companies (you can check them online) that lists all property insurance claims for the past seven years. Loss history is obtained by consulting the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE, and therefore, the name of the report). However, if a homeowner made flood repairs without filing a claim, none of that incident would appear in the CLUE report.

It is also a good idea to pay a professional to inspect the property for signs of previous flooding and other defects.

Another great way to tell if a house has been flooded is to talk to neighbors on the street. By just walking on the street, you can find out if the street is flooded or if any of the houses on the street have already been flooded.

Q: We live on Lake Houston. During Hurricane Harvey, our neighbor’s giant wharf floated downstream and landed directly on our wharf. What recourse do we have?

A: Contact your insurance company and ask your neighbors to do the same with their insurance company. Hopefully between you two there will be some coverage.

If not, it looks like you’re stuck with the cleaning costs plus the cost of repairing or replacing your dock, and if that’s the case, you should definitely try and get your neighbor to pay half.

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