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Seller liable for wood stove installed without permit?

The past owner installed a pellet stove himself, without getting a permit for it. The inspection before we bought the house didnt say anything about the stove. Two years ago we were going to have it cleaned and found out about defects on its installation. What can we do, whats the statute of limitations for an action. We bought the house 2 and a half years ago. The Seller's disclosure document says that the pellet stove has been installed correctly. The past owner didnt say anything about installing it without a permit, nor the real state agent. We learned about it because we went to check it in town hall. No permit, no inspection after its installation, is my understanding. What could I do? Can I have the past owner pay for the correct installation of this? Thanks,

 
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Editor's Response

If the seller made misrepresentations about the stove's installation or whether he obtained all required permits, you may have a cause of action against him for the cost of obtaining permits and correcting the installation.  Similarly, you may have a cause of action against your home inspector if the the stove was clearly not installed properly and he or she did not note the defect in the inspection report.   Depending on the amount of money involved, you may want to talk to an attorney who can send demand letters to the parties for you.  If the amount of money is relatively small (less than $2,000) you might consider doing the demand letters yourself and then proceeding to small claims court.  Since affirmative misrepresentations by a seller may constitute an unfair or deceptive practice under MA 93A (possibly entitling you to triple damages), I think I would consult with an attorney first.  Good luck.

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