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Will HO Insurance pay for damages caused by previous owner’s bad construction?

North Carolina

When Michael cane through, I got about 1” of water in my basement. None came through windows or doors, but is still “flood” damage. I had to remove wet floors/walls to avoid mold, which is when I found the problem. I found 3 layers of paneling, painters plastic, and millions of masonsry nails in the foundation walls. No furring or 2x4’s. The water was leeching through these nail holes and 3 layers of panel could no longer absorb it. The paneling is not moisture resistant. As it bowed, they added a row of furring and nailed another row of untreated paneling. Will my homeowner insurance cover the damage that the previous owner caused and hid? I do not want to move or get rich; I just want to avoid future leaks and mold. What should I do?

1 reply

Oct 16, 2018
I'm very sorry to hear that. Personally, I've been through hurricane recovery (Rita), and I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to have the problem compounded like this. Unfortunately, it's hard to say whether homeowners insurance will cover a defect like this - and courts regularly land on either side of the issue. It may come down to making the insurance claim and seeing how the insurer responds. It's also worth noting that a previous owner is not necessarily off the hook for selling a home with defects. There are certain warranties an owner makes with the sale of their property, and failing to provide a property that meets those warranties could result in liability. Further, if the issues were intentionally concealed, fraud may come into play as well. Unfortunately, this is all a little outside of our expertise at the Construction Legal Center - we focus on construction payment. However, there are a number of other online resources that could be more helpful. Avvo, Justia, and all have free "Ask a Lawyer" sections of their websites, and each site has lawyers from all different practice areas (beyond just construction) who can answer legal questions. Good luck with your recovery!

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