This is a true story which is still ongoing; only the names have been changed. To read last week’s story, click here.
We left off last week with Dean and Pam discovering, on the day of closing, that their new home in Desert Ridge was flooded.  The culprit? A newly repaired water purification system whose filter had popped off. Dean and Pam were just hours away from their moving truck arriving to unload their furnishings. Pam was asking me, “What do we do?”
The first thing we advise is to call the insurance company. Ok, but whose company do you call? Both. Though it may seem apparent that the flood began several days before closing due to the amount of water that had gushed onto the floors, and that the seller is responsible, it’s always important to let your own company know – just as in an auto accident. In this case, my client’s insurance company, USAA was quick to get a water mitigation company out there to begin the drying out process. Their philosophy seems to be to stop the bleeding first, then deal with the legalities later.
What about the seller’s insurance? Well unfortunately for her, she had cancelled her insurance just two weeks before closing, perhaps thinking she could save a few bucks. Of all the wrong moves one could make in this situation, that would be at the top of the list.
Ok, what about condo insurance? HOA’s collect money from each property owner monthly, right? Yes, but that’s for fire damage, not interior flood damage. A renter’s type policy that would cover the interior including theft, liability and comprehensive would be needed in this situation.
Finally, what about the water purification company that “repaired” the leaking system just a week before the repaired water filter popped out? What liability do they have? Well now, that’s a legal question, but it could be a direction the seller could go.
Dean and Pam finally moved in yesterday, though there is still ongoing damage in the garage that’s still being corrected and new carpeting to go on the stairs.
The seller, though distraught, has been co-operative with Dean and Pam. She is however, ultimately on the hook personally for this loss. And this is where it gets tricky. What has amazed me is how cool, calm, and collected my clients have been through this process. There are many tragedies that folks suffer through, and yes, it’s a bummer to have this inconvenience, but thankfully, no one was physically hurt. And on this Thanksgiving weekend, that is truly something to be thankful for. Somewhere down the line there will be a full conclusion to this story, and when that happens, we’ll let you know.