What can my husband and I do about a very leaky finished basement in the home we just bought?

What can my husband and I do about a very leaky finished basement in the home we just bought? This is our first house, and the previous owners (who’ve lived in the place for seventeen years) assured our real estate agent that the basement was dry. But the last time we had wet weather, the walls looked like Niagara Falls! It’ll cost $10,000 to fix this problem, and our Realtor no longer returns our calls. What can we do?

Since you live in Ontario, start by lodging a formal action with the Complaints, Compliance and Discipline office of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (888-296-8755). Among other things, this organization enforces codes of conduct for all registered agents and brokers in the province. If the issue of basement leaks had been mentioned during negotiations, but your agent didn’t include any written assurances in the contract, then there may be something that can be done in your favour. That said, it’s a sad situation indeed when people like the previous owners so easily turn their back on basic honesty, all to make a quicker sale at a higher price. Laws and courts and arbitration boards are a very poor substitute for integrity.

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