In WI - during a home inspection, while checking drains the inspectors allowed a sink to overflow flooding the bathroom floor. The floor was damaged. Who is the responsible party?
Thanks for any help.
I would assume the home inspector or the agent if she/he was involved.
Home inspector. He was the one doing the job. It was his screw up.
I'm not sure, because the home inspector was being paid by the buyer to do work in your home, so the buyer probably bears some responsibility, too. If you were going to court, you'd probably name both in the lawsuit.
Home inspector is responsible.
When I was a seller, the home inspector ruined the motor on the Jacuzzi by turning it on with no water inside tub and then left motor on until it burned up.
Inspector got a new motor and installed it.
The inspector is responsible. My WI inspector said one of the hard lessons for an inspector is never to walk away from a running bathroom faucet.
Ewww, I'm sorry for your unfortunate mishap. Being a devils advocate here, I have to wonder if the inspector is going to say the sink over flowed because you have a blocked or slow drain? Its very common in my area for inspectors to leave bathroom tubs, sinks, kitchen faucets, etc all running to test the septic fields. (By the way, they run them 1/2 hour for each bedroom, so 3 bedroom house, faucets run 1.5 hours unattended). I hope this isnt an out for him. Are the buyers still buying the house? Maybe something can be worked out with them since it was their inspector that caused the damage?
Correction: They let the faucets run a half hour for each bedroom in the house to check the well and all that water draining into the septic fields allows them to do the septic dye test.
Your state will have laws on what a home inspector must do, as long as he/she stays within those items, any damage caused is by a fault in your home. Any faucet should be able to run wide open for eternity without backing up. If it overflows, then you have a drain issue.
We had an inspector plug up our shower drain, then fill the shower with 2 inches of water. The water found a leak and ruined the ceiling below. I filed a complaint with the HI License Board because their standard is to test the drain in a shower, not the shower pan for leaks. He was outside his legal protection. We never got money, I repaired the drywall myself.
All of these stories are striking a little terror in my heart. Is it possible or allowed for the seller to be at home during the buyer's inspection in order to prevent disasters like this?
If someone is working in your employ, YOU bear some legal responsibility as well. Because the home inspector chooses to repair damage he/she causes, as in the case of the jacuzzi, does not mean that legally all the responsibility was his.
If you hire a painter to spray the outside of a building and overspray blows on to nearby cars, the person that hired the painter is liable along with the painter.
In a case such as this, the seller is unlikely to sue the buyer, but it would be hard for a buyer to demand that the seller pay to fix something broken by a person the buyer hired.
Jenswrens, you make a good point; while unusual, it'd be completely reasonable for a seller to be on the premises for the inspection. This is still your home, and you have every right to supervise people working in it to protect it from damage due to carelessness or negligence.
Is it possible or allowed for the seller to be at home during the buyer's inspection in order to prevent disasters like this?
Of course it's possible AND allowed for a seller to remain in their own home while it is being inspected. In fact sometimes it is helpful to the inspector, such as when he needs to know how to access the crawl space or attic. So long as the homeowner isn't hovering, it can be a good thing.
IMO the home owner should be home and watching what the HI is doing. If I could turn back time I would have stayed in the house while ours was there, I went outside to weed and stuff so that the garden looked good for the buyers (it's now dead a few weeks later).
After the inspector left, I noticed my washer wasn't working right. The inspector shouldn't have even touched it at that point because it hadn't been written into the sale. I had laundry in it, was doing a load or something when they came. It's possible it was still running, I have no clue what he touched but my dials were all moved. Every time I went to do laundry the water would stop filling; had to keep standing over it to get it going again. A few days later they asked for it so I said ok since their inspector broke it anyway. It eventually worked itself out, if it broke again, well tuff crap.
After the inspection we got the report, it was said that the electric outlets should be tested on the final walk through and that he couldn't test them all due to furniture; which furniture I have no clue, especially since most are in plain site. He could have come outside and gotten myself or hubby, asking us to turn off computers, yet he didn't. I have no clue how deep into the attic he went but he wrote it wasn't insulted enough which is a crock. He probably checked one spot, most likely where the over-head lights went in.
Another thing that ticked me off was he stuck something in 2 walls by the master shower, leaving damage.
So yes, I would watch the HI work as much as I could.
When I bought my house, the seller got home from work while the inspector was there, and I was happy. Made it easier to ask questions and in so doing dispense with a few "issues" the inspector noted that did not turn out to be issues at all.
Inspectors can be very rough on houses - especially older ones where there are "quirks" that a a person needs to know about before just tearing into something. Of course, it's reasonable for the buyer to know about these oddities, but it's much easier for the seller to say, "Go easy on that water shutoff valve," rather than having the inspector break it.
Another one that gets a lot of people into trouble are the well and septic tank tests where inspectors run hundreds of gallons of water, uncovering "problems" that may never have been there in normal use.
But if, as a buyer, you have a house inspected, stuff gets damaged, and then you want to walk away, you are exposed to liability for damage to the seller's house -- this is not solely the inspector's responsibility.
"Any faucet should be able to run wide open for eternity without backing up. If it overflows, then you have a drain issue."
Where did you get that?
Bathroom sinks often cannot keep up with a fully open faucet.
Hopefully the water was quickly taken care of quickly. Did your buyer have a mold test completed?
Here is a link that might be useful: Mold Test Tallahassee
To robbinspao@yahoo who keeps digging up old posts to shill for a mold testing firm, this one's for you: