Inspector in hot water after approving unit without drain

** Inspector in hot water after approving unit without drain

***Tuesday, February 19, 2008 *
Dear Barry,
I hired a home inspector before buying my house. He was supposed to find the defects. After moving in, I discovered that the shower in the basement has no drain connection. During the inspection, the inspector turned the shower on briefly, but he didn’t find any problem with it. Now it appears that the shower is a manufactured stall that was set in place on the basement floor, connected to the water lines, but not to the sewer drain system. Instead, it is located near a clogged floor drain. The first time I used the shower the water ran onto the basement floor and began to rise. I’ve called the former owner, but he denies any knowledge of the problem. The plumber’s estimate to repair this mess is about $3,000. Do I have recourse against the former owner or the home inspector? --Sharon
Dear Sharon,
Before we consider recourse, let’s review this lack of disclosure. The seller claims he was unaware that the shower drains onto the basement floor. To accept this, we must believe that the shower was never used or even cleaned during the time that he owned the property.
Equally surprising is the home inspector’s failure to identify the drain problem during a professional inspection. To gain some perspective on this lack of discovery, we should review the normal procedures for a shower inspection. Although not all inspectors employ the same sequence of techniques, a thorough shower inspection would be somewhat as follows:
The inspector begins by verifying that hot water is plumbed to the left side of the faucet. The shower, therefore, must run long enough for hot water to reach the showerhead. All the while, water is flowing down the drain. When the hot water has arrived, the inspector adjusts the shower to a normal mixture of hot and cold. With warm water flowing from the head, the toilet is flushed and the sink faucet is turned on to check for variations in flow and temperature at the shower. Had your home inspector conducted this type of inspection, water would have been visible and rising on the basement floor. If he did not see water on the floor, then the extent of his evaluation must have been very limited.
As for recourse, here are some suggestions: Invite the home inspector to reinspect your shower, and ask him to explain why the lack of a drain connection was not discovered during his initial inspection. Notify the seller again, but this time in writing and by certified mail. Inform him that his lack of disclosure is unacceptable and that full payment for drain repair is expected. If neither is willing to address the problem, you can file a complaint in small claims court. If you choose that path, spend an hour with an attorney for advice on your presentation in court.
To strengthen your case, have your home reinspected by a home inspector who has many years of experience and a reputation for thoroughness. Call several real estate offices in the area and ask who is the most nit-picky of all the local home inspectors. A reinspection may reveal additional defects not found by the first home inspector.
*To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at *

Thanks Roy

Brian Jones

Simple its a latent defect, and if the inspector followed Barry’s procedure and the standard of care inspectors of his experience and these if these standards failed to raise cause, I don’t think the complainant would have a very good case. In my opinion she would be better advised to seek restitution from the sellers, who could have misrepresented or not disclosed to the purchasers. In the scheme of things is $3500 worth going to court? Hmmm.

Spoken like a true jurist, Raymond. There’s still time to enter the profession!!

Just got in. Haven’t had time yet to see what fun you’ve had today.:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :twisted: :twisted: :shock: :shock: :wink: :wink:

Sounds like this person is complaining about a “clogged drain”

Wonder if she ever heard of draino?

if you had read the complaint you would realize that NO DRAIN is attached to the shower. How can you clean out a drain that is not instaled?


Instead, it is located near a clogged floor drain. :slight_smile:


Instead, it is located near a clogged floor drain.

I agree with Doug. The fact that just because the customer says there is no drain doesn’t make it so. Yeah I know the plumber quoted her $3000, but that would probably be the easiest $3K he ever made.

If there truly was no drain - where would this manifest itself?
Most likely from directly under where the shower was. Seeping under the enclosure perhaps?
Also, if there was no drain, it would not be the cause of water backing up in the floor drain (since its not attached). There is probably a clog in her main line which is becoming visible at the lowest point in the drainage system. I would bet that flushing the toilets would also cause a back up - she just happened to notice it after a shower.