Consumer-SOS Legal Help and Consumer Advice

Contact Us 

Accidents & Injuries
Banks & Credit Unions
Cars & Motor Vehicles
Children & Parents
Credit & Debt
Crime Victims Domestic Violence
Criminal Justice&Police Misconduct
Divorce & Marriage
Food Matters

& Gov. Assistance

Health & Medical
Health Clubs


Home Matters

Mail & Postal
Money & Investments
Licensing Boards

People Search

Phone & Utilities

Public Records

Refunds, Repairs & Replacements
Scams & Cons
Support Groups
Wills, Probate & Estates 
Work/The Wk Place

Home  California  Home Matters

Housing Defects-Getting the At Fault Party To Pay For Repairs

     First, find out if the problem is due to defects in the materials or from a defect in installation.  The former may be a manufacturer problem while the latter may be a contractor problem.  The defect may be covered under an insurance policy, warranty or contract, but you may first have to determine which party is responsible.

     Ask yourself: Is the defect a structural problem, involve health and safety concerns or is it a less serious cosmetic problem?  If the defect is a serious one and the one at fault refuses to fix it, report it to state housing authorities.

Get An Independent Inspection

     Get the defect examined by a licensed housing inspector. This may cost a bit (about $100) but it will bolster your case when talking to the party responsible for the damage.  Make sure to choose an inspector who is unaffiliated with either the contractor or the manufacturer. Often the contractor and manufacturer will deny responsibility and point fingers at each other.  Remind them that the inspector had no reason to favor either party and merely "calls em like he sees em." Note that in some cases companies such as pool repair services may offer inspections free of charge.

       Once the inspector has pinpointed the problem, get him to write out a report saying who's responsible and how much it will cost for repairs. Then send a copy of the report to whoever was to blame. Make sure you also keep copies for your records.

  Call your state consumer protection division or housing authorities to find out if the builder needs a permit/license.

Once you know how such are issued, find out if they can be revoked for misconduct.  Explain to the builder what you plan to do if he won't play fair.


Checklists-Documents And Things Covering Repairs

Is the defect covered under:

your homeowner's policy?

title insurance?

builder's warranty?

repair contract?

other insurance/contract or warranty?

People Who May Have Known Of The Defect But Failed To Disclose It Prior To The Sale

Did the builder know? (The house may still be under warranty if built recently).

Did the seller know?

Did the realtor or broker who supervises the realtor or real estate company know? (Realtors and brokers have a legal duty to disclose certain defects).

Did the housing inspector know? (In some states, inspectors may have malpractice insurance to pay for their blunders).

Did the closing attorneys of the buyer or seller know? (Attorney's may also have a legal duty to disclose certain defects. Call your state bar organization for details).

Documents Leading To Other Responsible Parties

termite inspection certificate (was it forged?)

structural + electrical inspection certificate (are such required in your state?)

Certificate showing that the wood used for deck was treated wood.

Find Your Local Newspaper, Magazine, Radio & TV Stations
Give them a little bad press and you're bargaining power increases tremendously. Select your state, and then click on your county or city for the proper media to report to. (DC Not Included).

Back To Top