Leveling with contractor over uneven floor | Yahoo! Real Estate

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DEAR BARRY: I bought a 7-year-old home and completely remodeled the interior. Then the rains came, and leaking at the doorways damaged my new wood floors. My home inspector never warned me that this might happen.

So I hired another home inspector, and he showed me that the pavement around the house is sloped toward the building causing water intrusion at the doors. When I contacted the builder about this, he said I should call the paving contractor, but the paving contractor went out of business. So who is responsible for the thousands of dollars I spent to repair the water damage? –Jean

DEAR JEAN: First of all, the builder cannot dismiss the issue by laying it at the feet of the subcontractor who poured the concrete. Builders and general contractors are ultimately responsible for work that is done by the subcontractors they choose. “The buck stops here” is the maxim by which a builder must operate. Your builder should address this issue.

Your first home inspector also shares some liability. Drainage conditions around a building are among the primary considerations in the course of a home inspection. If the ground or pavement is visibly sloped toward the building, this should have been disclosed in the inspection report.

You should contact the inspector and ask for a reinspection of the drainage conditions around the building. You should also find out if the inspector carries errors and omissions insurance. It may be time for him to file a claim. But this should not let the builder off the hook.

To clarify these liability issues and the builder’s responsibilities, get some advice from a construction defect attorney.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at http://www.housedetective.com .

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