Author Topic: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?  (Read 3669 times)

undercover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 912
Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« on: February 03, 2016, 09:10:49 PM »
Bought a house a few months ago and never physically got in the tub. Not sure who does that, but I wish I had. Discovered shortly after moving in that the fiberglass tub probably wasn't installed properly and creaks pretty loudly when moving around. I guess the floor of the tub is physically flexing and it's highly annoying. Apparently the fix is to install mortor underneath the tub if you can get to it but I can't as its upstairs.

Anyways, the sellers never disclosed this nor did the agent. I'm just wondering if anyone here thinks that it could be worth pursuing to get remedied, if possible. And it may not be at all. I'm in North Carolina. I did look through the disclosure checklist and it doesn't specifically mention bathtubs or fixtures, just drains and pumps.

iamlindoro

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1520
    • The Earth Awaits
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2016, 09:49:37 PM »
IMO, It is very unlikely the seller could be made responsible for remedying something like this.  Federal law pretty much only requires sellers to disclose whether or not they know lead paint to be present.  State laws vary, but tend to only pertain to items which directly affect the safety or provenance of the house-- whether you're in a flood or earthquake zone, whether the house has been a major crime scene, and issues with things like mold, pests, electrical, plumbing, and roof issues. 

Someone with deep knowledge of North Carolina may be able to give specific guidance, but to me, something like this would be considered trivial and something that the buyer should have assessed themselves or during the inspection period, if it was of great importance to them.

ETA:  North Carolina disclosure form:  http://www.ncrec.gov/Forms/Consumer/rec422.pdf
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 09:55:22 PM by iamlindoro »

iamlindoro

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1520
    • The Earth Awaits
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2016, 10:02:16 PM »
One further item:  If your state's customary sales contract says something like "the property, which buyer accepts is in 'as is" condition," as most contracts do right at the beginning, or any other language that basically says it will be in the condition it was at time of contract signing upon close, then at this point the property is yours and it would be virtually impossible to make it the seller's problem.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 10:04:24 PM by iamlindoro »

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5174
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2016, 06:44:10 AM »
If you can get access under the tub somehow just get a couple cans of expandable foam and spray under and around the tub cavity. you only need enough room to get the straw through and or see the cavity so worse case you drill a hole. Chances are thats all it is. When people build houses and put in fiberglass tubs I just dont understand why they dont do this.

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2016, 06:49:32 AM »
I'm not sure that something that is merely annoying would be something that they have to disclose. Is the tub leaking? Structurally unsound?

I guess I'm just not sure how this would play out with closings in general. My floors creak and slant. It's annoying. Should that be disclosed? Should every knick on the wall and every stain on the hardwood be disclosed?

I know it's annoying to you as a new homeowner, but all homes have warts. This one is relatively minor all things considered.

undercover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 912
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2016, 07:24:24 AM »
I thought as much, just thought I'd ask in case there happened to be an NC lawyer who dealt with real estate a lot present. Even then, I realize it's not very likely.

I'm not sure that something that is merely annoying would be something that they have to disclose. Is the tub leaking? Structurally unsound?

I guess I'm just not sure how this would play out with closings in general. My floors creak and slant. It's annoying. Should that be disclosed? Should every knick on the wall and every stain on the hardwood be disclosed?

I know it's annoying to you as a new homeowner, but all homes have warts. This one is relatively minor all things considered.

Well that's the thing...who knows if it's structurally sound? At the moment it is and there are no leaks - but I imagine that fiberglass is only going to flex so many times before there are issues. All things considered, it is definitely minor, but at the same time I've never stayed or been anywhere that had a loud tub. My fault I guess for not checking it out - just not something I would have ever thought of.

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1867
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2016, 07:38:16 AM »
I bought a house last fall and found out around the new year the roof leaked and the sellers probably covered up evidence of past leaking and did not disclose it during the sale.  After looking into it it seems that there are no repercussions to sellers lying about known problems (short of obvious fraud, even then...).  I think legally your home inspector removes liability from the sellers wrt broken stuff.  It is all kind of fucked up. 

Despite all the forms and lawyers with nice ties and inspectors and official documents I think buying a home is basically like buying a lawn mower at a garage sale for 30$.

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2016, 08:40:23 AM »
Despite all the forms and lawyers with nice ties and inspectors and official documents I think buying a home is basically like buying a lawn mower at a garage sale for 30$.

Sad, but hilariously true.

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5174
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2016, 10:14:29 AM »
Not to beat a horse..but to even call a lawyer anyhow would be more than 15x"s  i would bet 2 cans of foam which is what the builder forgot to put in. Of course if flexes its fiberglass/acrylic. Cheap builder easy fix. Its done as common practice by good builders in the midwest to avoid the flex and noice.

bobechs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2016, 11:12:01 AM »
My. God.

If by some freak of OCD mania you had decided to get into the bathtub for a quick test shower as part of your pre-closing due diligence and heard a creak in the tub would you really have been willing to walk away from the house if the seller had flatly declined to jump on paying to make it go away to your satisfaction?

Is this that important to you? 

Or are you just of a mindset that a contract to purchase is your opportunity to be as unreasonable as possible, to cost the seller as much aggravation as possible, and that closing is no bar to continuing the process into eternity?

undercover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 912
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2016, 05:52:49 PM »
My. God.

If by some freak of OCD mania you had decided to get into the bathtub for a quick test shower as part of your pre-closing due diligence and heard a creak in the tub would you really have been willing to walk away from the house if the seller had flatly declined to jump on paying to make it go away to your satisfaction?

Is this that important to you? 

Or are you just of a mindset that a contract to purchase is your opportunity to be as unreasonable as possible, to cost the seller as much aggravation as possible, and that closing is no bar to continuing the process into eternity?

Mind telling me how you really feel?

I get it - what's important/annoying to me may not be to you. Shocker.

Asking a yes or no question does not necessitate your unhelpful post. Thanks.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 06:00:07 PM by undercover »

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10470
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 06:41:03 PM »
Lol! DH and I are experienced DIY homeowners. We recently bought a rental that needed "only" cosmetic updating. We were not at the inspection. Yes, that was against our better judgement, but it couldn't be helped, because the house is 7 hours by car from our primary residence. (Don't worry, we have another house in the same development and we'll spend at least half our time there when DH fully retires. Prices are down because of Canada and oil and all, so we got a screaming deal on the place.)

After closing, we worked like crazy on the house, and only when we were doing the final clean and polish did either of us actually step into the master shower. Yup, there's a problem, kinda like yours, except our shower pan is on the ground floor, on concrete. What's our solution? We're going point it out to prospective tenants and require that they refrain from showering in high-heeled shoes. If/when the pan starts to fail, we'll fix or replace it then. End of story. Not going to hassle with finger-pointing, because it's just not worth our time.

So OP, my advice is to take soccerluvof4's suggestion and then get on with your awesome life.

bobechs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2016, 04:49:12 PM »
My. God.

If by some freak of OCD mania you had decided to get into the bathtub for a quick test shower as part of your pre-closing due diligence and heard a creak in the tub would you really have been willing to walk away from the house if the seller had flatly declined to jump on paying to make it go away to your satisfaction?

Is this that important to you? 

Or are you just of a mindset that a contract to purchase is your opportunity to be as unreasonable as possible, to cost the seller as much aggravation as possible, and that closing is no bar to continuing the process into eternity?

Mind telling me how you really feel?

I get it - what's important/annoying to me may not be to you. Shocker.

Asking a yes or no question does not necessitate your unhelpful post. Thanks.

Okay then: no.

Three wore words than you allow, but what can you do about it now.

Sorry about harshing your make it perfect for me mellow.

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4433
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2016, 04:57:41 PM »
How much would a new tub cost?  Because the easiest remedy would probably be to break up the old tub and remove it, and put a new one in that is properly fitted.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6319
  • Location: BC
Re: Could sellers be liable for creaky tub?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2016, 11:00:49 PM »
.....that closing is no bar to continuing the process into eternity?

+1

With the close of the property, you can't go back and ask for anything unless the seller was clearly fraudulent in the sale process.  Even then, it had better be a major issue affecting the ability to live safely in the structure, or a problem with land title.   

Here, that means that the signed disclosure document is not only wrong (the seller lied in writing), but you can prove the owner was aware of the issue at the time of signing.  How on earth would you ever prove that someone knew a tub squeaked, even if it turns out to be a structural or safety issue?