Fairview Heights couple claim their home has significant structural problems

Kelly Holleran Jun. 23, 2009, 11:24am

A Fairview Heights couple has filed suit against a construction company and an inspector, alleging the home they purchased had significant structural problems that will require them to incur at least $75,000 in repair costs.

Jackie and Doug Zerjal say they purchased a home at 101 North Bend in Fairview Heights from Daech and Bauer Construction on May 31, 2006.

Little did they know that their home "was in a state of failure and that virtually every aspect of the home required repair and replacement," according to the complaint filed June 16 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

In fact, before the Zerjals purchased the home, Daech told the couple it had no significant defects, the suit states.

In addition, they hired an inspector, Bill Theisman, doing business as Sure Home Appraisal and Inspection Services, to assess the home.

However, Theisman failed to identify the defects with the home, so the couple decided to purchase it, according to the complaint.

After buying the house, the Zerjals discovered its foundation system was insufficient to support its loads; the underlayment was decayed and structurally unstable; the structural elements of the wall were decayed; water had entered the home in the footing and foundation areas; the HVAC unit had become disassembled and was causing moisturized air to continuously blow against wooden components, further contributing to the home's decay; and the electrical system was installed unsafely, the complaint says.

The Zerjals say they have hired contractors to fix the home, and it appears repairs will cost between $75,000 and $100,000.

Daech knew about the home's defects as it had investigated the soundness of the home and had advised a previous owner that extensive repairs were required, the suit states.

"The defendant intentionally decided to not disclose the known defects in this home so that it could sell this home at a value that would be consistent with the market value of a home without significant defects," the complaint says.

The Zerjals claim they would not have purchased the home if they had been aware of its defects.

In the three-count suit, the Zerjals are seeking a judgment of not less than $100,000 and unspecified actual and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

They are represented by Timothy J. Bates of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-319.

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