Sunday, December 25, 2005

We had a wet (basement) Christmas

I was thinking Christmas this year would be fairly quiet without too many stories to share. Pretty naive of me, eh?

We had planned for a quiet morning at our house, the rest of the day at my parents' place with the family all coming over for Christmas dinner. Finally, we would come home and pass out from all the delicious food mum and everyone prepared and tired after a full day.

Unfortunately the homeownership gods decided to play pranks on us. We got home, stuffed and tired, and very much looking forward to bed. Knowing we were heading out tomorrow morning to see Dave's family we started to clean up the house and I was cleaning the litterbox upstairs, but it needed more litter so I went down to the basement to get some.

Our basement is unfinished, and full of boxes so I couldn't see that well and went to turn on another light when I noticed a distinct squishing sound under my foot. The squishing sound was complemented by a cold, wet feeling on that foot. I foolishly took another step, and lo and behold my other foot was wet now too.

At this point I didn't know what it was. I kinda swore and thought "not pee again!" but then realized that the area that was wet was bigger than all our animals' bladders combined. The water was up and over top of my toes.

After some humming, hawing, and swearing we decided the carpet and underpad (you know, the one I spent $30 cleaning not a few weeks ago) wasn't salvageable so we started tearing it up with an exacto knife and putting it in big garbage bags. In the process we uncovered the source of the leak; a crude patch applied by a previous owner. When you stepped on this patch it squeezed up a bit of water. I feel like calling up the guy and thanking him for the Christmas present but Dave said I'm not allowed.

Dave sopped up water with the mop while I ran around to the neighbours hoping one of them would have a ShopVac we could borrow. Sadly no one was home save the creepy drunk weirdos 2 doors down. (the good news is that their place looked empty so maybe we're getting a new year's present- new tenants there)

We continued with the mopping and cutting of carpet and underpad. We've left the patch on for now but will take it off when we get back from visiting Dave's family on the 28th. I'm just glad to have had the chance to scrub my feet clean of the basement water cocktail.

Hopefully the fans we have going and dehumidifier down there will get it drier. Ah the joys of homeownership. We're really lucky to have a house of our own, I just wish it didn't come with a leaky basement. On the plus side Dave says "Yay we have our own swimming pool!" Just not the one we had in mind.


Anonymous said...

You should sue the previous owner of your house for not disclosing the patent defect in the basement.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant latent defect, anonymous

elane1958 said...

Not knowing the laws of real estate in Canada, but, considering a lot of your laws are the same or similar to the States, I would think you could sue for the previous owner hiding that fact. That's not like a piece of aluminum siding falling down or a cracked window. This has to do with the foundation. Anyway, being a lawyer, I'm sure you are aware of your rights. I wouldn't let the bugger get away with it.

elane1958 said...

When Bill n I bought our house, the previous owners had told us that the dishwasher worked.....oh yea, it worked alright....dumped water right straight into the basement thru the floor. They also removed the thermostat and attached the old one, neglecting to hook it up so that when the first winter came along, we didn't know why (at first) the heat wouldn't come on.

The previous owners also had taken in a cat, that they found, and the filthy thing urinated on every single rug in the house, upstairs and basement. I had to tear it all up. My cat walked in and said, "WHOA!! They bought me a LITTER BOX!!" Took me a few years to get the stench out. If I had known then, what I know now, I would have sued. They would have had a professional cleaner (one of my choosing) to come in and clean the floors and paid to replace the carpet throughout the house. I'll know better the next house. I plan on adding that to the instructions as to what I want in and for the house when an offer is offered.

Anonymous said...

It could be a latent defect, but because this crack was hidden by artificial means, at the hands of the previous owner, technically it is a patent defect (i.e. would have been ordinarily observed upon routine inspection). In any event, it's splitting hairs; the previous owner knew about and obviously didn't disclose the defect to you, so you have a cause of action.

Heather said...

It's an older house; so long as the flooding is fixable (likely by the bottle of crack sealer my parents kindly dropped off) I'm happy.

Yeah I may have a cause of action but it would be against the owner before the one we bought it from since the owner before us had the house for 3 months before deciding to marry some dude and move out. But frankly, the only damages we suffered were a bit of frustration and some ugly blue carpet, and replacing a mop. Being a lawyer those situations are the ones where we tell clients not to really bother.

Sara said...

Hmmm I would guess it'd be a latent defect... if I were trying to define it...

A latent defect being one that the seller knew about but the buyer couldn't figure out about through a routine inspection (ie since it's under the carpet, and you can't rip up carpet to inspect the house... or apparently move television sets either).

If it were a patent defect, which is one that is defined as obvious and is able to be discovered through a routine inspection, caveat emptor (aka Buyer Beware) would likely apply, possibly preventing a cause of action...

Unless maybe it could be fraud on the part of the owner before the previous owner... and fraud unravels everything.

But yeah, why bother suing over what probably cost you $100.00 in ugly blue carpet.

Wow apparently they did teach me something in Real Estate class.... want me to subdivide some abutting land?