Skimmer sinking. Neighbors retaining wall fell.

Woodstock1234

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
46
Illinois
The one thing that people rarely do and is so important is to ask for a vendors insurance certificate before they are hired.
If the inspector has professional liability (errors and omissions), you can try to make a claim there.
Also, the inspection itself should state what they are liable for. It varies wildly.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,108
Central California
Home inspectors have zero culpability if an issue is found after the inspection
I'll keep correcting statements like that as long as someone keeps making them. That might vary from state to state, and certainly can be true if the inspector's contract has some sort of defendable exculpatory clause. But that's just not true in all situations, in all states. So until we hear from a New York attorney (pardon me if you are), or get a peek at the OP's home inspection contract, I'd like to not discourage him from checking on the possibility of a solution for this awful situation.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
959
MA
banks demand that they be used anyway for some unknown bizarre reason
I believe it is a form of welfare. How else could these poor souls feed their families? They have basically failed at every other type of contracting job they've ever tried because that work requires competence and liability, so they simply took a few hour class and now they have their own profession where they can do absolutely no wrong and have no liability for their work. ... Oops did I say that with my outside voice??
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,108
Central California
I believe it is a form of welfare. How else could these poor souls feed their families? They have basically failed at every other type of contracting job they've ever tried because that work requires competence and liability, so they simply took a few hour class and now they have their own profession where they can do absolutely no wrong and have no liability for their work. ... Oops did I say that with my outside voice??
I'm gonna let that one go because it is predominantly true!! 😆
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
324
Austin, TX
That's not true in California. Here inspectors are liable for four years, and can be charged for the cost of repairs for things they missed. I can't speak to other states...

That's not to say his contract couldn't state otherwise, which may or may not hold up in court. NY? Who knows. I can go round and round (I have), but I'm just pointing out a possibility that the OP might want to check on before he gives up.

If I've learned nothing else today, it's how wildly different these matters are handled from state to state.

And that glazing over a home inspector's contract, without fully understanding what you're signing, can land you into a six-figure nightmare right quick.
Wow, I wasn't aware of that in California. That's a tough spot. Here in Texas, the things has so much boiler plate verbiage about "best effort", "no responsibility", etc. Furthermore, pretty much ANYTHING they note in the inspection report is concluded with clauses like, "Recommend consultation of a licensed electrician/HVAC company, etc.". I still would think it might be hard to prove. I mean if they miss a major issue and two years down the road it's discovered, it's hard to PROVE that issue existed when the inspector was there. Outside of the included pictures, there's not a lot of evidence. How does that work? I mean A/C works at inspection, fails 2 weeks later, how is an inspector liable for that? I only imagine a few situations that are so obviously egregious for the inspector to not claim it wasn't like that when they inspected.

Thanks for sharing!
 

RMcGirr83

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2018
952
Tuscola, TX
I'll keep correcting statements like that as long as someone keeps making them. That might vary from state to state, and certainly can be true if the inspector's contract has some sort of defendable exculpatory clause. But that's just not true in all situations, in all states. So until we hear from a New York attorney (pardon me if you are), or get a peek at the OP's home inspection contract, I'd like to not discourage him from checking on the possibility of a solution for this awful situation.
But it's pretty darn impossible for a new home owner to PROVE (and no I'm not an attorney...thankfully).

 

HeyEng

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
567
Oklahoma City, OK
The one thing that people rarely do and is so important is to ask for a vendors insurance certificate before they are hired.
If the inspector has professional liability (errors and omissions), you can try to make a claim there.
Also, the inspection itself should state what they are liable for. It varies wildly.
This is probably the best recourse and that's the direction I would go if I was in this predicament. If you used an inspector who doesn't carry professional liability insurance, then it's on you. It would be easier to negotiate w/ the insurance company than to try to sue the inspector and/or sales agent and/or their companies and/or brokers. As an aside, there are some decent attorneys out there; they aren't all arse clowns and genuinely like to help people. ;)

***This is not legal advice so don't take it as such. I am most likely *not* admitted to most of the posters (and certainly not in the OP's) jurisdiction.
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
2,585
Atlanta Ga
This is why I never became a home inspector. I debated doing it for a while
From what I have read on them they do their best.
I still think your home owners insurance should Handle it. They are skilled and have lawyers
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,108
Central California
But it's pretty darn impossible for a new home owner to PROVE (and no I'm not an attorney...thankfully).
Yes, even if the OP has a case against the inspector (as in: NY allows it), it's still a long way to getting any money for the fix. I think we've seen the evidence that it was a pre-existing condition (so it was there when the inspection was done). More could be gathered from neighbors, or the sellers or the sellers' realtor, etc. That would establish the negligence of the inspector. That along with the fact that just about anybody, expert or not, could have reasonably been expected to see that defect (that's an important legal concept I'm not stating very well). But then there is the matter of the inspector's contract. Some of these guys use contracts that state they're only liable for damages up to the amount of their fee. Or that they're not liable for anything. It could say anything, and that might be the end of it, or the language could be challenged in court (generally contracts can't negate law). And the matter of the report: maybe he did call it out and the OP missed it. And even if all that panned out: there is the matter of collecting. I had already asked the OP if his inspector had liability insurance. And he's kinda disappeared from this conversation.

So if the OP doesn't or can't pursue this course, we'll wish him well. But either way, I think the conversation is worth having because a lot of us (myself included) make assumptions about services and service contracts. We glaze over the fine print, assuming that we're going to get what we're paying for. And that's just not the case. The missed items of my inspection later cost me four figures. I never went after the guy because of all his fine print. The dollar amount was not too bad, but it was mostly pool-related. I now realize, especially because there was a pool involved, how much worse it could have been.

The lessons: read and understand contracts, especially when they involve very large ticket items (like a home and pool)! Have a separate, specialized pool inspection, by someone that knows what he's doing, before you buy a house with a pool.
 

Woodstock1234

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
46
Illinois
This is why I never became a home inspector. I debated doing it for a while
From what I have read on them they do their best.
I still think your home owners insurance should Handle it. They are skilled and have lawyers
The OPs home policy won't cover it because it happened before he became the owner. We don't know the cause of the damage, so no way to know if insurance of previous owner would respond. It's possible the previous owner tried to claim it and it wasn't covered. The insurance will only use their lawyers if the policy covers the damage.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,108
Central California
Agree.

The current owner can't make a claim on the previous owner's policy, which is now cancelled anyway.

The previous owners can't make a claim for a property they no longer own, with a policy that is no longer in effect (cancelled). Not that they would even if they could.

The current owner can't make a claim for a defect that existed at the time of purchase, or for one that happened before his policy was in effect.

As much as I hate insurance companies, even I can't fault them for any of those. There wouldn't be insurance if all you had to do when some catastrophe hit was to go out and buy the coverage that would fix it, after the fact.
 
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jamjam

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
198
NY
To my knowledge, in NY, you can go after the inspector if he negligently missed a material defect which has resulted in harm to the purchaser, and the purchaser relied upon the inspection report to enter into contract.

I had my inspector come back to re-inspect repairs the seller made and he refused to give me a written report, but was willing to give me off the record advice.
 

gingrbredman

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
161
Chicagoland
OK guys... Let's keep in mind this is a pool forum and not a law or lawyers forum.. We've already told the OP to talk with a lawyer about 25 times.. That is now up to him..

Let's stick to pools, and structure and repair actions... or move along..

Thanks,

Jim R.
Any update from the OP on the actual pool, structure, or repairs? A lot of legal, inspector, inspection theories, but I am really curious if the OP has been checking in and has any updates on the process he is going through now, and the roadmap to get the pool into a placed he can enjoy.
 
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Poolsnotmygame

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2019
70
Massapequa, NY
Sorry everyone. I thought the thread was dead until I came here to learn how to winterize as I usually pay to have it done but I dont know why I wouldn't be able to do it myself.

As far as the steps I've taken so far.

I've called several attorneys - none of them feel I have a case. NY is largely Caveat Emptor, or 'Buyer beware'. No matter how I spun it, no one was convinced I had a case.

I contacted my Home inspector, he was willing to come by and take a look at the decking. He felt I had a leak. I performed another bucket test to check. I was losing an inch a week in the summer heat which I was told is normal but I tested anyway. Results were that I did not have a leak.
My inspector had no idea what to do from there.

Next thing was that I have been nagging a particular pool guy to come and take a look since he installs the Fox pool brand that is in my backyard. He had been telling me all summer he's way too busy to even come take a look and sometime in September he finally said he had time to take a look. As it turns out, he said he was the one who installed the pool with the previous previous owners nearly 20 years ago, even remembered the owners name. What he told me was that I would need to put in a retaining wall not only where the decking seems to be falling but around the entire lot that supports the pool, then essentially uninstall the pool (concrete, liner, etc) raise the decking and then put it back together again like another member here had described. I thought maybe I could at least have him do a retaining wall now to help keep the pool where it is, which is still functional just looks weird and I have to be very aware of water levels otherwise one skimmer will continue to pull air. This is only because I assumed it would be a huge price tag to do it all at once.

Anyway, I have yet to receive an estimate. I emailed several times following up, he finally responds he's super busy again and he'll get back to me. Its been about 4 weeks or so now.

The more I try to get this issue fixed the less likely it seems that I will ever seem to find someone who knows what they're doing and can fix it.

I'm kind of at my wits end guys.