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leaky den

Posted by Stefani Crosby on March 4th, 2003 06:54 PM

We recently sold our home in Louisiana with a sunken den (of all places to buy a home with a sunken anything!) Two years ago, we had water seepage coming from under the slab. We pulled back the carpet and saw some places where water was coming in...hairline cracks and joints under the steps down into the den. We had NO IDEA what to do and neither did half of the professionals we called. We put quickrete and water sealant down and watched the water continue to come in. A plumber came out with his pressure gauge and said that we had a leaking pipe under the slab. We promptly called the insurance co., who sent their inspector out. She discovered a leaky sprinkler head which was hidden behind tons of elephant ears close to the foundation of our home. She said that the sprinkler system had saturated the ground outside the home near the foundation and that the water was coming in under the slab at the lowest point. (Of course the insurance company was relieved of responsibilty for payment since it was basically groundwater...or so they said) We promptly ripped out the system and the elephant ears, put new gutters up and redirected the downspouts. We haven't had a problem since. We wrote on the disclosure form that the den had flooded due to a leaky sprinkler system which had since been removed, though we did not put that it came in from under the slab. We also told the buyer to be sure and keep gutters clean, leaves from piling up around the foundation, etc. to avoid water coming into the den, as it is the lowest point in the home.

Last week we got a call from our buyers. They said water was coming in under the carpet in the den. We know there has been a lot of rain there recently, and we suspect that the ground is saturated; however, we honestly thought that the problem was remedied when we took out the leaky sprinkler system. They buyers have pulled back the carpet and have seen my application of the quickrete and waterproofing material that I had applied before we discovered the source of the water. I got the impression that they suspect that we knew there was an ongoing problem based on the discovery of this "waterproofing" attempt. The buyer called and asked if we would "work with him" on getting the repairs done. We told him yes, because we think this is extremely unfortunate and we had no clue that this would be an ongoing problem.

My concern arises because the buyer did mention that he had spoken with his "attorney" and that there were no indications of water damage on the form. I disagree, as we did state that the den had flooded due to the sprinkler. I am nervous because I have heard that a buyer can sue for up to three times the amount of the property, etc. We do not have those kinds of resources. We honestly believed the problem was remedied, and disclosed it on the form.

Have you ever heard of any case like this going to court? We are willing to help the buyer due to the unfortunate circumstances, but we want to make sure that we are not into this for several thousand dollars. At this point, we are still waiting on a return call from the buyer. He is supposed to get some estimates and get back with us. Since there are no guarantees on preventing seepage, how can we agree to help with remedying the problem so that if it does happen again, we won't continually receive phone calls asking for more $$$$ throughout the years?

What are your thoughts?

Thanking you in advance,


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