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Condo seller did not disclose faulty windows

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mylesaway23

New member
I bought a condo in Los Angeles, CA in July 2019. The seller disclosed a small mold issue near some windows. We had to remove the nearby windows as part of the remediation process. Upon removal, the general contractor noticed that the window panes were made of plastic, not glass. He stated that plastic pane windows are not to code. I believe these were put in before the seller bought it. We decided to replace the windows to proper windows since the old windows had to me removed and put back as part of the mold remediation. Do I have a small claims case against the seller to reimburse me for these new windows?

My real estate agent and I did not notice that the windows were plastic during our walk-throughs. The inspector also did not mention this. But the owner of the house for several years should have noticed this as all you have to do is touch them one time. I cannot find the section of the law that shows that the old windows would not be to code. In summary, the improper windows were material and were never disclosed.
 

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
The only way I can see you prevailing is if the seller misrepresented the window material or if there is a specific law that would require the seller to disclose the material.

Your belief that the seller should have known of the defect may not provide sufficient evidence that the seller actually know of the defect, particularly since neither you, your agent, nor your inspector found the defect when you were looking for defects.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
California requires some of the most extensive home sale disclosures in the country. Included in the home disclosures is a requirement that the seller disclose any work done to the home that seller knew about that did not have proper permits or that were not up to code. Even if the seller knew the windows were plastic that alone is not enough. Unless they knew the building code rules (and the vast majority of homeowners have no clue exactly what the code requires) or they were told by someone knowledgeable that plastic windows weren't allowed they'd not know the windows violated code just by being plastic. You'd have to prove the seller knew that plastic windows did not meet code or that they were installed without proper permits. That's going to be nearly impossible without an admission from them that they knew or you have some evidence (a document or whatever) that shows they likely knew the windows were not to code. They can't disclose to you things they didn't know, after all.

California's Department of Real Estate has a publication Disclosures in Real Property Transactions that goes over not just California's sale disclosures by the sellers but a variety of other disclosures required under state and federal law. It's a bit outdated so a few a things have changed, but it gives you a pretty good overview of things to expect.
 

Stephen1

Member
As I understand, if plastic panes were allowed (or at least not prohibited) at the time that they were installed, then the windows were not out of compliance with code when you purchased. Code does not require the owner to retrofit just because the standards changed.
 

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