Sunday, March 1, 2009

Air Conditioner Defect Goes Undisclosed During Sale of a Home Phoenix AZ

By: Barry Stone
Dear Barry,
Since selling our home, the buyers have complained about the air conditioner. Before the sale, we had the system serviced and it was working fine. During the escrow, the buyers' home inspector said the system needed repair because of a leaking coil. We told the buyers the system had just been serviced, so they chose not to follow the inspector's advice. After closing escrow, the system began to malfunction. At that point, the buyers requested a copy of our service receipt. That's when we noticed the contractor's written recommendation. The bill says the coil should be replaced and will cost $600. Verbally, he had said the coil would need eventual replacement. Now the buyers want us to buy a new coil. We weren't trying to hide anything when we sold the property and are unsure about what we should do now. -- Mike
Dear Mike,
Although you were not trying to conceal a defective condition, nevertheless an inherent defect went undisclosed during the sale of the property. If it had come to light during the escrow, the buyers would probably have insisted on its repair, and you probably would have consented, rather than holding up the escrow. Therefore, as unpleasant as the loss of $600 may be, I'd recommend paying for replacement of the faulty A/C coil. However, in meeting this responsibility, you should request that the buyers sign a release form, freeing you of liability for any future problems with the A/C system.