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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


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

Answered 4 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.  

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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