Homeowners claim sellers failed to disclose leaks

Andrea Dearden Oct. 18, 2010, 9:53am

Two Alton residents allege the homeowner who sold them a house failed to disclose its leakage problems, causing them to incur substantial repair bills.

Trevor and Allison Walls filed a lawsuit Oct. 6 in Madison County Circuit Court against Craig B. Stahl, Ralph V. Stahl, Nino Primavera and Inspect First Metro East.

The Walls allege they bought a home from the Stahls at 1946 North Rodgers in Alton on Nov. 1, 2009. Before they purchased the home, the Walls hired Inspect First to examine it, according to the complaint.

After Inspect First reassured them that the only leaking present in the home remained in the utility room, the Walls agreed to buy the house for $68,000, the suit states.

Not only had Inspect First guaranteed the quality of the home, but the Stahls also filled out a disclosure report, stating they had no issues with leaks, before the Walls bought the house, the complaint says.

However, after the Walls claim after they moved into the home, they discovered major leaks throughout.

The Walls say the Stahls knew of the substantial water damage to their home, as evidenced by the strategic placing of certain objects.

"Said knowledge is evidenced by posters hung to conceal cracks in bedrooms where roof leakage occurred, as well as placing plants and other obstacles to make it difficult to access or locate defects in the structure, as well as tape that was painted over coming unglued upon the first major rain, designed to conceal water damage caused by the leaking roof," the suit states.

Had they known of the water damages, the Walls would have either refused to purchase the home or they would have paid a lower price for it, according to the complaint.

The Walls allege common law fraud against the Stahls and negligent misrepresentation and negligent inspection against Inspect First.

In their six-count suit, the Walls seek a judgment of more than $300,000, plus costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Shari Murphy of Wood River will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-1037.

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