But it's only $0.32 to send a letter, so, what the heck.
[Names and addresses withheld to protect the guilty and innocent alike.]
June 28, 2004
Re: [MY HOUSE]
On November 25, 2003, I purchased the above-referenced property from you. The seller's disclosure you signed on August 26, 2003 stated in section 7 item (d) that there was no water leakage in the basement.
Almost immediately upon moving to the property, I noticed that there was some leakage in the basement. I had hoped that this problem was minor and could be handled with minimal expense and no need to contact you.
However, since that time the basement at [MY HOUSE] has flooded completely on three separate occasions. I have spoken with three separate contractors on resolving this issue, and they have indicated evidence of multiple prior attempts by amateurs to resolve this, as well as indications of prior flooding. I am forced to conclude that you were aware of the persistent, extensive, and recurring problem of flooding in the finished basement, despite your statement on the seller's disclosure.
Based on these consultations, I have determined to hire KC Waterproofing. Their estimate is for $4,425.00, and I intend to have the work completed within ninety (90) days. This estimate is only to complete work to ensure no further water enters my basement. It does not include the damages done to property by the floods which have already occurred.
Because the nature of this problem was not properly disclosed to me at the time of the sale, I am asking you to pay for the cost of correcting it. Please remit the amount of $4,425.00 to me promptly at:
[ME AT MY HOUSE]
If you do so, then I will consider this matter settled and I will not pursue you for any additional monies (for example, for water-damaged articles or legal fees) associated with the water problem in the basement of this property.
If I have not received payment within thirty (30) days, by July 28, 2004, then I shall be forced to resort to additional measures, including but not limited to filing suit against the sellers for failure to disclosed material defects in the property they sold.
Thank you for your attention. If you need additional information, please feel free to send correspondence to me at the above address.
cc: [SELLERS' AGENT]
One of my friends suggested that it'd look good to cc a lawyer, even if I didn't hire one. After all, it costs nothing to send a letter to a lawyer. Since I have a brother who's a lawyer, I'm going to ask him if it's all right to use his name. On the one hand, using my brother (who shares my last name) makes it look a little less "real": "Oh, suuuuure she hired a lawyer who JUST HAPPENS to have her last name." On the other, using my brother makes it look like I could legal services for free or cheap, which might be a bit more intimidating. (In truth, I can't use him as a lawyer, period: he's not licensed to practice law in my state and this isn't his field anyway.)
In any case, if anyone else has suggestions for what I might include, or exclude, from the letter, I'd love to hear it. Thanks, all of you.