Plumber uncovers possible cover-up

But proving a pre-existing sewer problem won't be easy

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

DEAR BARRY: We purchased our home just last week and had a sewage backup within 12 hours of moving in. Our first load of laundry caused flooding in the basement, so we called a plumber. He said the main sewer line is full of roots and has been that way for a long time. His estimate to replace the line is more than $5,000. According to the sellers' disclosure statement, all drain lines were in good working order, but the plumber says this cannot be true. So now we are stuck with a major expense that we cannot afford. Our home warranty doesn't cover tree roots, and our homeowners insurance says it doesn't cover pre-existing conditions. Are the sellers liable? --Amanda DEAR AMANDA: The plumber's description of old root congestion in the drainpipe indicates that there have been previous sewage backups in your home. The sellers probably knew about the problem and failed to disclose it, but proving that could be difficult, if not impossible.You could ask the neighbors if they e...