7 On Your Side solves New York family's septic situation after buying home

Nina Pineda Image
Monday, October 22, 2018
7 On Your Side solves New York family's septic situation after buying home
Nina Pineda reports on a New York family's septic situation after buying a home

CORTLAND MANOR, New York (WABC) -- A New York home-buyer learned an expensive lesson she wants everyone to know about after she discovered her $300,000 home had one major problem she never even knew about.

Hidden under a piece of plywood in one home-buyer's backyard is $7,500 nightmare.

"It's failing. It's actually collapsing," said wife and mother Jennifer, who didn't want her last name disclosed, but wanted to help warn others what happened to her and husband when they recently purchased their home.

After closing, they found out a rusted, rotting old steel septic tank is buried right near their swingset.

"I had no idea it was under here," Jen said.

Two multiple listing sheets she reviewed listed the house as being hooked to the town's sewer system -- not septic. But after the family moved in, Jen bumped into one of the home's prior owners who set her straight: the house sewer system is connected to a septic tank and it was always giving the former homeowner trouble.

"I said what are you talking about, we're not on septic, we're on sewer," Jen said. "He said, 'Oh no you're not.'"

She hired a contractor to dig up the backyard, confirming the tarnished tank is "rusted, collapsing" and posed an "immediate threat" to anyone who stood on top of it. He covered the hole with a piece of wood, but the backyard is now off limits to her two young boys.

What jilted Jen was before closing, nobody caught the septic system -- not her real estate agent or the online listing's agent. Not the title company. And her home inspector never even knew to look for a septic tank.

"I would've never closed on this house with his huge safety issue," Jen said.

Her listing agent offered to kick in a third of the estimate to remove the tank, but it cost $7,500 to take it out and when she asked the seller to buck up:

"They said oh well too bad," Jen said.

Her next step was to write to 7 On Your Side. We called all parties involved in the home purchase and within 24 hours Jen got some good news.

We helped broker a compromise where both listing agents pitched in to pay the whole $7,500.

"Thank you 7 On Your Side," said Jen. "We don't think they would've helped us if you and your team didn't help us!"

Both listing agents said they were not "at fault or accountable," saying they went above and beyond to make this home-buyer whole.

The big takeaway is when buying a house, particularly in New York where disclosure laws are a bit different, you have to do your due diligence. That means getting a title search, hiring a real estate attorney and get an extensive home inspection. It is especially important when you're buying a home that recently went through a foreclosure, which was what happened in Jen's case.



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