What is the law regarding unpermitted work discovered 1 year after sale that the seller did not explicitly disclose?
Question Details: The seller claimed that he put in $300,000 worth of renovation at the property. We had general inspection, electrical and plumbing and no red flags were raised. We knew the A/C, furnace and hot water heater were on their last legs and we had budgeted to replace those anyway. It was a very competitive market and we had our hearts set on a specific neighborhood. After seeing 25 houses, we fell in love with this house. We still love it and we have not found any major problems. However, we recently discovered that some the work is not permitted - a load bearing wall has been removed, a fireplace has been de-commissioned, some windows were converted into sliding doors, the stair orientation has been changed, and a large patio cover has been added. We know this because we have recently uncovered the original floor plan from the attic of the house. Before closing, I asked for permits but no permits were found except the original construction of the house and the pool. And our realtor said, "Oh, no permits so there must not have been any structural changes". We took her word for it. I know that we should have retained a lawyer but we got bad advice from our realtor that "as is" sale is standard practice in CA. We know what we should have done and this is the situation we are in, so please no "I told you so comment". My husband had just retired 25years from the military and we had moved 4x within 1 year, so were worn out, jet lagged and were tired from all the travels and bouncing from hotel to hotel plus trying to manage 3 small children. We fell in love with the house and were not aware of CA permitting rules. The seller purchased the house in foreclosure 2 years ago and listed it 7 months later, so he had time to work on it. In the disclosure agreement, the seller did not check any of the boxes about the permits but he had this disclosure addendum: "The present owner has recently obtained possession of this property through foreclosure, and has never lived in the property. Buyer is to do all of their own inspections and not rely on any of the seller's information including MLS. Indirectly, the seller might have made improvements to the property to various degrees usually and mostly cosmetic. Buyer is recommended to get a physical inspection. This physical inspection is to determine if the Buyer finds the property suitable to purchase. No property is perfect. Things break and the physical condition of a property may change over time. Buyer is buying the property "as is". Seller, listing broker and agent warranty nothing, not even work done. Buyer is getting a discount for such (i.e. if the home's condition was perfect and sold with warranties, the price would have been higher). Often homes have room additions and modifications done with permits. Seller and listing agent rarely verify this. Square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathts, number and location of garage spaces, room sizes, etc. in the MLS might have been determined from a visual inspection or measured. Buyer is to double-check and not rely on the seller's information because it could be inaccurate". We are now trying to get those modifications permitted, just because we don't want this monkey on our back. We don't know how much it's going to cost, but I would like to know the options that we have in terms of pursuing a legal action against the seller, from what I understand now, since the sellers did not explicitly admit to the un-permitted modifications, are there laws to protect the consumer from unfair real-estate practices like this. The sellers sold the house for 300K more that they purchased it on foreclosure.