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  1. #1
    rachela623 is offline Junior Member
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    Any legal rights for home built on swampland?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? PA

    I bought my house six years ago, and have always had flooding in my yard after heavy rains, along with the neighbors whose properties border mine. I talked to my township commissioner a couple times, and he finally told me that all the homes in my area were built on swampland. When I bought my house, the sellers disclosure only said water "puddles" in yard after heavy rains (I have had close to 8" of water in my yard after some storms). Do I have any legal rights to do something about this?
  2. #2
    OHRoadwarrior is offline Senior Member
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    You have the right to exercise good judgement when purchasing a home and doing diligent background on the property and homes condition. If you have no immediate neighbors, I suggest you explore altering the landscape to divert the volume of pooling water before someone else builds and makes doing it an issue.
  3. #3
    csi7 is offline Senior Member
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    I suggest the same. Do it quietly, and make it as natural as you can.
    We brought in dirt to build up a natural berm line to direct water to natural drain area behind the property line at the rear of our property.
    We took pictures of before and after for our records.
    When someone filed a complaint with DEP several years later, we had to do a little bit of changing, however the bulk was left alone. When we got our clearance letter, we left the area alone except for normal maintenance, and the berm there is still working.
    Best wishes!
  4. #4
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OHRoadwarrior View Post
    You have the right to exercise good judgement when purchasing a home and doing diligent background on the property and homes condition. If you have no immediate neighbors, I suggest you explore altering the landscape to divert the volume of pooling water before someone else builds and makes doing it an issue.
    I second that!! Even houses built on soils that drain poorly can have sufficient drainage away from house and yards if properly graded.
  5. #5
    OHRoadwarrior is offline Senior Member
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    Shhhhhhh!!!! This conversation never happened.
  6. #6
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OHRoadwarrior View Post
    Shhhhhhh!!!! This conversation never happened.
    what conversation?
  7. #7
    John_DFW is offline Member
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    You may have a case for the nondisclosure, depending on what was stated and what was required to be disclosed. It does seem that puddles is intentionally deceptive and might meet the level of nondisclosure.
  8. #8
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    I live on a long island swamp land and my BASEMENT fills with water up to 6 inches in long and heavy rains. could fill in a matter of hours.


    now *that* is more then mildly annoying. it causes real damage to the structure of the rooms. rooms we use...

    what do you use your yard for...


    In TN I lived in the mountains, and my house at the top of a hill, gets puddles of water at my garadge doorthat I have to bail out so it doesnt flow into the garadge... sometimes houses are like that.



    I doubt you have any claim 6 years later!!
    Last edited by Banned_Princess; 08-16-2011 at 09:03 PM.
  9. #9
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_DFW View Post
    You may have a case for the nondisclosure, depending on what was stated and what was required to be disclosed. It does seem that puddles is intentionally deceptive and might meet the level of nondisclosure.
    Well I think that's key here....you don't have to disclose that your property drains poorly or isn't properly graded. If the property has delineated swampland or built in a floodzone, then these are items that typically have to be disclosed.
  10. #10
    John_DFW is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Aggie View Post
    If the property has delineated swampland or built in a floodzone, then these are items that typically have to be disclosed.
    I am assuming nothing from the OP's subject title of swampland, but that might be the only way to have recourse. It was formerly swampland or it wasn't.
  11. #11
    rachela623 is offline Junior Member
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    a little more info....

    This is my first home, so I had no idea what my rights were in terms of buying the house (my sleazy realtor worked for the firm selling the house, so actually worked against me to make sure a more senior realtor in his firm got the sale for her clients - I did file a complaint with his office that went nowhere). The only mention of the flooding, which can be as bad as eight inches deep over the bulk of my yard, was a statement in the sellers disclosure, which literally said that water "puddles" in the yard. My home is surrounded by five other homes, all of whom have flooding issues as well, although mine is the worst. Regrading my property would just redirect water to theirs, and would no doubt cause problems with my neighbors. I have also talked to my township commissioner about the issue, and just found out yesterday that he was giving me incorrect information. He had said it was a drainage issue related to a large industrial company close by, but finally told me on Monday that it is actually just that my home is built on swampland. I contacted another township official, who confirmed that back in the 20s when my house was built, it was OK to build homes in what was basically a marsh.
  12. #12
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rachela623 View Post
    This is my first home, so I had no idea what my rights were in terms of buying the house (my sleazy realtor worked for the firm selling the house, so actually worked against me to make sure a more senior realtor in his firm got the sale for her clients - I did file a complaint with his office that went nowhere). The only mention of the flooding, which can be as bad as eight inches deep over the bulk of my yard, was a statement in the sellers disclosure, which literally said that water "puddles" in the yard. My home is surrounded by five other homes, all of whom have flooding issues as well, although mine is the worst. Regrading my property would just redirect water to theirs, and would no doubt cause problems with my neighbors. I have also talked to my township commissioner about the issue, and just found out yesterday that he was giving me incorrect information. He had said it was a drainage issue related to a large industrial company close by, but finally told me on Monday that it is actually just that my home is built on swampland. I contacted another township official, who confirmed that back in the 20s when my house was built, it was OK to build homes in what was basically a marsh.
    Well here's the thing...if you're having "flooding" issues as a result of poor drainage or grading issues, then that is something that doesn't necessarily have to be disclosed. If your home floods as a result of rising waterbodies or lies within a floodplain, then that's different and would likely have to be disclosed. As far as swampland or marshland, again, it depends on whether it has been delineated (identified and outlined by the appropriate regulatory agency) as swampland. If it doesn't have this designation (even if it has all the characteristics of swampland), then it wouldn't necessarily have to be disclosed.
  13. #13
    rachela623 is offline Junior Member
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    The township official I spoke to yesterday said he thinks the water table is high in my neighborhood, and they are doing tests around my township to confirm this in different areas (not sure when they are getting to mine). If this is the case, regrading will make little difference to the flooding. Also, I received a letter a few weeks ago from the township, stating that my home is no longer in the 100 year floodplain. I am assuming this means that my home was in the floodplain when I purchased it six years ago. I was never told this, and am wondering shouldn't the sellers be required to tell me if the house was in a known floodplain?
  14. #14
    OHRoadwarrior is offline Senior Member
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    Is it possible to redesign the property, so all the water goes into a pond?
  15. #15
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Seeing how it appears PA has a 2 year SOL on fraud (and a 6 year SOL on contracts if you want to try a breach claim instead), what they should have disclosed is rather immaterial at this point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.

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