I bought a home and seller did not disclose they were stealing electricity and there was at least a small fire inside the walls

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I bought a home and seller did not disclose they were stealing electricity and there was at least a small fire inside the walls

I live in Texas. I bought a fixer upper home in May of this year, but after
turning off the electricity and trying to disconnect the electric water heater,
we discovered there was still power to the heater. Apparently, the previous
owner a lawyer was stealing electricity to the water heaters, stove, furnace,
and possibly the air conditioning. Upon opening the drywall all through the house
to look at the wiring, we found outlets that had been walled up, loose bare
wires, and evidence of an electrical fire.

Do I have any recourse as the previous owner did not disclose any of this?

Asked on April 19, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you bought the home "as is" with no inspection, it makes it a little harder to complain about the non-disclosures.  However, it's not impossible considering the nature of the items that were discovered.  Certainly, there is nothing appropriate about a house that is rigged to steal to electricity.  When a seller sales a homes, there are some implied warranties.  This could be considered a breach of that warranty and fraud.  To know your remedies for certain, you need to take all of your documents to a real estate attorney so that they can evaluate your paperwork and see what other options may be available.  


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