Buyer beware of bathroom leak

Don't expect recourse for fixing $1,500 defect

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DEAR BARRY: After buying our home, we discovered a leak in the floor of our upstairs shower. The surprise came when water began dripping from the downstairs ceiling. Worse still, we discovered that the ceiling had previously been patched. This means that the sellers must have known about the problem, a suspicion that has been confirmed by the next-door neighbor.

When we had our home inspection, the inspector ran water for a while but not long enough to reveal the leak. Now we’re stuck with a repair cost of $1,500. The seller has moved out of state, and the home inspection report specifically disclaims shower pans. Do we have any recourse against the home inspector or the seller? –Jason

DEAR JASON: The sellers were apparently aware of the leaking shower pan but chose not to disclose it. On that basis, they appear to be in violation of the law and subject to legal consequences. Unfortunately, their residency in another state complicates your chances of bringing justice to bear.

For clarification of the strengths or weaknesses of your position, you can seek the advice of an attorney, but a $1,500 claim probably does not warrant the investment of legal costs.

Home inspectors typically perform their work in accordance with established industry protocol, as set forth by professional associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors. Unfortunately, these standards do not include testing of shower pans.