June 5, 2013

I discover a large puddle of water on the laundry room floor that is leaking through the ceiling. The upstairs bathroom is directly overhead. A plumber is called in to diagnose the problem.

He discovers that the water is coming from the upstairs shower control manifold which is badly leaking inside the walls.

He also discovers that the framing behind the walls is badly burnt from a soldering blow torch.

The plumber suspects that the house has several other plumbing problems, and I agree to let him cut some small inspection holes in the drywall. He discovers that the downstairs toilet, sink, tub, shower, and laundry tub are all plumbed without venting pipes.

He also discovers illegal electrical wiring , and six additional water leaks inside the walls.

The downstairs corner shower has a shower head that only aims water to spray out the shower door.

The shower drain was illegally connected into the wrong size and type of pipe, and has no P-trap.

The laundry drain was illegally reduced from a 2” pipe down to 1 ½” pipe.

One of the drain pipe Y-unions is installed backwards! What's more, the PVC drain pipe is illegally cemented into a sewer clean-out access.

The upstairs bathtub drain uses an illegal T-union into the rest of the drain system.

The water damage from the upstairs bathroom leaks has caused the drywall of the laundry room ceiling and walls to crack.

The kitchen garbage disposal had been illegally wired and was plumbed to the dishwasher with an illegal hose.

An air admittance valve (illegal in Minnesota) was used underneath the kitchen sink instead of a proper vent stack.

Most of the water lines were pieced together with alternating scraps of soft copper pipes (instead of rigid) and radiant floor heating hoses (instead of pex pipes). All soldered plumbing unions were done in place, badly burning the framing next to them.

The upstairs bathroom faucet was missing parts for the drain lever , and the water pipes were never fastened to the framing.

At this point, the plumber informs me that all of this work was likely done by the same person, illegally, without a permit, and that all of it is failing. Both of my bathrooms and kitchen become un-usable. My house had been flipped by somebody who cut an obscene amount of corners.

My realtor also visits the house to see the problems for himself. At the time of purchase, he and the sellers had coached me into waiving the disclosures notice (which means I bought the house “as is”). I would later learn that this is one of many tactics used by predatory remodelers.

My realtor suggests that I go into real estate arbitration through his agency. I'm informed that there are no lemon laws for houses and the sale cannot be reversed. I'm not sure what to do.