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12 ON YOUR SIDE

Woman calls about heating system problem

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A deal on a great house with a bad heating system is a headache, if you get stuck with expensive repairs. One woman believes government rules designed to protect home buyers, failed her. She turned to 12 On Your Side. 

The first time home buyer got an F.H.A. loan which requires the house have a working heat system. Sharita Bolling says H.U.D.'s property managers led her to believe; her heat pump had only a minor problem.  

"What I want is to have heat in the winter and that would come about by having my unit replaced," Sharita Bolling said. 

The house had a bum heat pump before Sharita closed on her home, her home inspector told her. 

"He said the unit's not working. All he could tell me was he didn't see any freon in the unit," she said. 

She and her realtor informed H.U.D and its property managers, July 5th she says. Sharita's financing was contingent upon the house having heat. Her closing was August first and she claims the property managers stalled her for weeks. 

"They're guilty of covering up the problem," Sharita said. "It's leaking in the unit in the attic."  

I reached out to HUD and its property managers. HUD did not respond but told Sharita; previously, the house was sold 'as is'.     

"I feel hustled. I feel they came to me with lies," she said. 

Sharita says she closed after HUD's property managers said a second inspector they sent found the unit only needed a minor fix. So, she accepted a $250 repair credit and moved in. 

"I felt like if it's a small repair and they are giving me money to fix it, and my realtor said they have never had any issue with a repair credit before," she added. 

She says three outside contractors now say she needs a new heat pump which will cost between $5,000 and $7,500. Sharita says the property managers will not disclose the contractor they used. 

"I don't know who came. It could be their cousin. I don't know who came. Who looked at the unit and how much expertise they had," Sharita said. 

Before you close on any sale, know the shape of the house and whether you are up for spending more money. H.U.D.'s field services manager sent an email and says they only test the H-VAC unit to see if it turns on -- not if it produces heat or cools. They also say buyers have a 14-day window to have an inspection and determine whether to go forward. In essence, HUD is not budging.

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