A member asked over 7 years ago

Defect in property after sale

We recently have settled in a house. My sister and I bought it together. It was an estate sale. We have since found, after two weeks of living in it, that there is black mould growing in the roof cavity. The tile roofing and new metal roof extension do not meet properly and so have a gaping hole in which water and wild life can enter the roof space.

What is our legal recourse in this circumstance. We had a building inspection done. No mention of daylight showing through when you put your head up in the roof. Yet, when I went up there I could see daylight straight away. I feel that the inspection was not done properly. Who is to blame? What are our rights?

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor

Hi there. Before purchasing a property, it is common for the seller or purchaser to commission a building inspection report. This report is a written record of the property’s condition before sale, including the presence of any significant building defects such as a faulty roof. If this report fails to identify a major building defect it will be in breach of the Australian Standards. The person who conducted the inspection may be liable to the purchaser who relied on the report when purchasing the property.

According to the Australian Standards, an inspection should normally report on the condition of the roof void and the roof exterior. In your case, the roofing fault would most likely be considered a detectable building defect and one that the inspector should have identified. Provided there is no mention of the defect in your report, your first step should be to resolve this issue with the inspector who conducted the building inspection report. If you are dissatisfied with the response of the inspector, and they are a member of an industry association, you may be able to access a free complaint handling service to escalate your claim.

If you cannot resolve the matter directly with the inspector, your next step is to seek legal advice to bring a claim in negligence against the inspector for failing to identify the roofing defect. If you are successful, and the inspector is insured for professional indemnity, you may be awarded damages to compensate you for any expenses incurred in repairing the defect.

Suggested way forward

It sounds like you may have legal grounds to bring a claim in negligence against the individual or business who commissioned your building inspection report. You should speak to a lawyer about your legal options and how to enforce them. By pressing the “Consult a Lawyer” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered over 7 years ago   Legal disclaimer


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