Question: We bought our house during the winter and recently ran our air conditioner for the first time, only to find that it doesn’t work. What can we do? Should we just return the air conditioner for a new one?
Answer: Most real estate attorneys receive a number of phone calls after the year’s first heat-wave from clients who purchased homes over the winter. These clients complain of broken air conditioners that were not tested during their home inspections due to cold weather, (usually if the outside temperature is below 65 degrees).
Unfortunately, most purchase and sale contracts include an agreement that the transfer of title to the property ends all claims you may have against the seller. You may remember the term “quitclaim deed”, which implies the harsh reality that the acceptance of the deed “quits your claims” against the seller. Ironically, this leaves you out in the cold without recourse against your seller.
If your next purchase is made during the winter, include a provision in your purchase and sale contract that allows for future testing of the air conditioning unit with an appropriate credit for potential repairs. Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the first available warm day to run and test the unit with a professional HVAC service person.
Attorney James Haroutunian is a Billerica native who runs the Haroutunian Law Office at 790 Boston Road specializing in real estate law including landlord/tenant and estate planning. James invites questions from local real estate agents as well as consumers at 978-671-0711, prioritylaw.com, hlawoffice.com, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.