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Likes Disclosure Law

April 26, 1987

Harold Kempen of Bakersfield wrote (March 22) that the new disclosure rules for selling a house "gave a leg up" to the buyer. If he means they offer needed protection to the buyer I feel the rule is justified.

My daughter, while trying this year to buy her first home, noticed on the disclosure that about 20 years ago, a landslide had affected a small part of the lot. This gave her the clue to have an engineer check the lot and the house.

Apparently unnoticed by the seller, the house had settled in two corners, and further examination showed serious erosion had undermined the foundation.

Two contractors gave bids of $12,000 and $16,000 for foundation repairs, warning that other unforeseen problems might arise. The retaining walls were giving way and the bids for those were $6,000 and $8,000.

The roof, mentioned in the disclosure as old, had already leaked, with evidence of dry rot present in the walls--another $8,000. These costs added between $26,000 and $32,000 to the selling price of $200,000, plus the closing costs, etc.

The seller refused to share any of the repair expenses, so the sale fell through. We feel the new disclosure law is an excellent idea, although the old rule of caveat emptor still holds true. Some other unwary buyer of that house will hav an unhappy surprise.

FRANCES LEVEILLE

Long Beach

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