Repairs to house after closing

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Repairs to house after closing

We recently sold our home and closed on Jan 17th and we had two weeks of possession after closing to move out. On January 19th, we had a unusually warm day and our above ground pool thawed out and we discovered a large tear in the liner. We were not aware of the tear before closing on the home and the only reason we noticed it was because of the warm day and the pool thawed. The buyers are asking us to pay for it and accusing us of having known about the issue and not being honest with them. I believe that we are not liable because we did not know about the pool and it was not discovered until after closing. How should we handle this?

Asked on March 5, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Legally, IF the tear existed prior to the closing date and you were not aware of it and also reasonably should not have been aware (if a seller *should* logically be aware of a condition or problem given the circumstances, then he or she can held accountable as if he or she did in fact know--is to prevent people using "willful blindness" as a defense), then legally you would not be liable. Where as a practical matter you may have trouble and could lose (if sued) is:
1) If due to the size, placement, etc. of the tear in the liner, it would appear more likely that you should have been aware of it previously than that you should not have--if you were sued and the court believed this were the case, then you could be liable under a "fraud" theory. The fact that you may not in fact have known would not help if you a court believed you should have known.
2) If it appears that the damage did or may likely have occured during your two weeks of possession, you'd be liable to repair it: after closing, if the seller remains in possession, they are obligated to maintain the property in the same shape it was in on the day of closing and turn it over to the buyer, when the vacate, in the condition it was in at closing.

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 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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