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I purchased a home last fall just to discover, come spring, that it was on a natural spring.

It turned out that the spring is water table dependent and as such was not present during the time of the home inspection as water levels were lower. Upon tearing up the carpet I had discovered cracks in the floor that were patched over and that the water was taking said path and, when breaking open that path, the contractors had discovered that the area around the path was hollowed out by the water.

The only thing indicated on the sellers disclosure was that they had sump pumps that ran no structural or foundation issues were indicated, however I am unsure if a spring is required to be disclosed in PA

Note: When I say there is a natural spring I mean 4000+ gallons an hour from 1 of the pumps alone. And city has tested the water disowning it as definitely ground water

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    The disclosure includes the questions "Do you know of any repairs or other attempts to control any water or dampness problem in the basement or crawl space?" and "Are you aware of any water leakage, accumulation or dampness within the basement or crawl space?", "Are you aware of any past or present water leakage in the house or other structures?". If the previous resident is the seller, it's hard to imagine that a "no" answer would be truthful. If it was a third party (e.g. resident was deceased), "no" could be truthful. – user6726 Jun 4 '18 at 17:27
  • @user6726 double checked and they did mark No for those things, had completely forgotten about that part. I was unsure about pursuing mediation, but I'm feeling moved now – SCFi Jun 4 '18 at 17:37
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The general rule in the sale of a "used" house is "buyer beware", but the seller of a "used" house must disclose latent defects of which the seller is aware. (Different rules apply to the first buyer of a newly built house.)

While a natural spring would not always be a defect, one that causes structural or foundation problems is clearly a defect.

So, the two key questions are (1) whether the defect is one that could be discovered with a reasonable inspection, or whether it was instead "latent", and (2) whether the seller had knowledge of the defect.

If the defect couldn't have been discovered with a reasonable inspection, and the seller was aware of it, but didn't sufficiently disclose it, then the seller has liability to you if you bring suit within the statute of limitations, equal to the damages you have suffered from the non-disclosure of the latent defect.

Under the circumstances that you describe, where the evidence of the defect was hidden by a carpet, it seems plausible that this was a latent defect.

So, the big question at this point is whether the seller was aware of the natural spring causing foundation/structure damage in the basement. This would depend upon facts and circumstances which you question does not provide an answer to, so the question can't be finally resolved.

  • I think this answers the question pretty well, "one that causes structural or foundation problems is clearly a defect". I will give the question some time for others though. Just not quite looking for complete legal advice just something general for others as well so I believe this works. I will just add the carpet is new and produced just in 2014 according to the manufacturer so no way they were not aware of the crack at least – SCFi Jun 4 '18 at 17:09

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