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The buyer of the old house demanded compensation for moisture damage years after the transactions – only a district bill of more than 20,000 euros was left – Taloussanomat

The allegation of an error in a real estate transaction has a five-year time limit within which disputes over the transactions should be instituted.

The buyer of the old house filed a lawsuit eight years after the deal became expensive.

The buyer tried to hold the seller liable for moisture damage. The District Court found that the buyer was no longer entitled to invoke the land section governing the sale of real estate once the time limit had expired.

The claim for EUR 32,500 sought by the new owner was not received and a district bill of almost EUR 21,000 is ahead.

The controversy concerned a house built in the early 1950s. The buyer visited the house three times before the names were put on the deed of sale.

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Surface moisture measurement was performed in the house. The structures were not broken, so no indications of damage were found inside them. The measurement results showed acceptable values.

The seller had commissioned a renovation of the house when he bought it in 1999 and lived in it for a dozen years. The house was transferred to the new owner for 180,000 euros, the transactions were made in 2011.

Defects and deficiencies limiting the seller’s liability for trade had been taken into account in the transaction and had a depressing effect on the price.

The owner moved into a house that was suitable for living as is. The renovation started with the renovation of the downstairs washrooms after the owner had lived in the house for more than eight years.

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Moisture was found on the floor and bottom of the walls. The owner contacted the seller and he got acquainted with the points that emerged from the renovation during the demolition phase. He himself had applied for a permit in 1999 for a renovation he had commissioned to build sauna facilities downstairs. He served as the foreman in charge of the renovation, as he had training in the construction industry.

According to the new owner, the construction work had failed e.g. drainage and waterproofing. His view was that the seller had acted dishonestly and worthlessly because the renovation had been done in violation of regulations and good building practice.

The owner thought the property had a quality defect. He demanded damages of approximately EUR 32,500 from the seller in a lawsuit in the District Court of Southwest Finland.

The seller denied all claims and contended that the action should be dismissed. He noted that the final inspection of the renovation had been approved without requiring revised plans for building supervision because the changes to the plans made during the renovation were minor.

The seller recalled that prior to the transaction, all documents had been presented to the buyer and the buyer had not been given false information. In addition, all the deficiencies in the building were listed in the annex to the deed of sale.

The district court heard a number of experts as witnesses. According to the goods inspector, in 1999 after the renovation, e.g. the drainage and drainage of the building floor had not worked because the renovation had been done incorrectly.

A graduate engineer who had a long career in the construction industry stated that because the floor was dry in the moisture measurement made before demolition, the water has flowed freely after the bottom of the building and the drain were broken.

According to the district court’s decision, there was no evidence that the seller had acted dishonestly and worthlessly.

The court recalled that, according to moisture measurements, the structures were not damp and the new owner did not notice any signs of moisture damage during his eight years of living.

Moisture was not noticed until 2019 when the basement structures were demolished. There were no indications that there had been moisture in the basement at the time of the transaction, according to the district court.

The court found that the new owner pleaded the error after more than eight years had elapsed since the transaction, so the time significantly exceeded the five-year claim period set for the real estate transaction.

According to the ruling, the plaintiff was no longer entitled to plead error.

The district court dismissed the lawsuit in December. The losing party applied to the Turku Court of Appeal for permission to proceed further, as it considered the decision of the district court to be incorrect.

The Court of Appeal did not grant permission for further processing. It gave its solution last week. Since the new owner lost his lawsuit, he will also have to pay the seller’s legal costs.

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