Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: Two months after we bought our home, rain runoff from the street drained into our garage and the downstairs floor of the house. Our home inspector made no mention of past flooding, but the neighbors tell us that flooding has occurred during every rainy season for the past several years. Are the home inspector and the sellers liable for nondisclosure? Fred

Dear Fred: If flooding of the house and garage occurred during the time that the sellers owned the property, as stated by the neighbors, then they were obligated to disclose that problem and are liable for failure to do so. The inspector, however, is only liable if there was visible evidence that he failed to notice at the time of the inspection. In most cases, such evidence exists, but there are exceptions, including situations where sellers may have cosmetically masked the evidence.

You should ask the home inspector to take a second look at the property. The seller should be notified of your concerns by certified mail.