buried foundation

I have recently experienced flooding (1 foot of water) in my cellar (I have lived in the house 7 years and somehow had not experienced this level of water before) during a hard rain and have discovered as a result that the brick foundation on one side of my house was buried during the construction of my neighbor’s house 15 years ago. Basically, my house is serving as a retaining wall for her property, which sits about 1.5 feet above mine. The ground level is above the level of my brick foundation, and the wood above the brick is in contact with dirt, which is rotting the wood and allowing water into the cellar. This was missed by my inspector, along with several other major issues. Shortly after I moved in, I discovered that the vent stack from my furnace had not been reattached to the vent going up through the roof, so the furnace was venting into the house. I complained to the inspector and received a full refund, but only after signing a “hold harmless” agreement. Does this mean I have no further recourse now that I have discovered the foundation problem?

I would recommend that you spend the money you were refunded and obtain another inspection. You may only want a limited inspection, one of the foundation only. Here’s some good info to help you choose a competent inspector:


When you know that you have a foundation issue or suspect one, your money is best spent in hiring an engineer to look at it. Your state should maintain a list of licensed engineers in your area.

To answer your question it all depends on how the hold harmless agreement was written. If it states you won’t take action on future incidents and you signed off agreeing to it to get your money back I would think “NO” your out of luck. However, none of us are lawyers and that’s who you should really be asking. Many of us run very reputable quality driven companies “myself included” so I’ve never had to issue a hold harmless agreement. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Wish you all the best. By the way the advice given to you by others on this thread are some of the absolute best inspectors in the country. I know. If it wasn’t for people like them I wouldn’t be who I am today. Take your refund and hire a professional engineer who specializes in foundations. In St. Louis most will inspect for about $300-$400 and add a report for about $150 to $200 more.

I am assuming, I could be wrong, that this inspection was done 7 years ago. More than likely you will have no recourse after this amount of time.