Advice about wet lawn raises question of liability

Question: We bought our first house and hired a home inspector before signing the contract. During the inspection, my husband noticed a wet spot in the yard and pointed this out. The inspector said it was probably due to the recent rain and advised us not to worry. But since we've moved in, the spot has remained. We e-mailed the inspector about this and he said we probably have a leak somewhere. So now what do we do?

Answer: When a home inspector sees a wet spot in a yard, all possible causes should be considered; not just one. A more complete disclosure in the inspection report would have read "Wet spot on lawn may be due to recent rains, but faulty ground drainage or plumbing leakage are also possible causes. Further evaluation is recommended to ensure against leakage. If no leak is detected, site drainage improvements may be needed."

Incomplete disclosure has exposed the home inspector to some degree of liability. If a plumbing repair is needed, he may be willing to assist in the repair. Faulty site drainage, if it affects the lawn area but not the buildings on the property, and if no soil erosion is occurring, may not be a serious problem. Again, further evaluation is needed.

-- Barry Stone, Access Media Group

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