A Florida family thought it had bought a dream home, but then realized it was more of a nightmare (video below).
Victoria and Adam Cooper of Spring Hill, Florida, said they bought the 3,096-square-foot home in December 2014, because the spacious property had plenty of rooms for their children and new grandchild, as well as a picturesque swimming pool for their disabled adult daughter's aquatic therapy.
Shortly after moving in, they discovered the home had a major sinkhole problem, News Channel 8 reported. There is a large sinkhole under the pool, as well as cracks all over the property and a "soft spot" in the living room.
The Coopers said they were devastated to learn of the situation and are now afraid to let friends and family use the pool, News Channel 8 reports.
"I can't sleep at night," Victoria Cooper said. "This is a nightmare."
Investigators from News Channel 8 On Your Side discovered the previous owners of the home, Clarence and Mary-Grace Surrena, were aware of the problem when they sold the home to the Coopers, and lied about the issue on a disclosure form.
The previous homeowners allegedly checked "no" to questions on the form asking about sinkholes, and also concealed a $155,000 insurance settlement they received from Liberty Mutual in 2013 after the company's engineers confirmed the presence of sinkholes on the property.
The Surrenas moved 109 miles away to Winter Springs after selling the home, according to News Channel 8.
Clarence refused to answer any questions about the home when asked to comment by reporters from 8 On Your Side.
"I have no comment, you’ll have to talk to my lawyer, period," he said.
The Coopers said the sinkhole issue has created significant financial problems for them. Their insurance company reportedly dropped them because of the sinkhole, and as a result their mortgage company has had to force-place their insurance, causing their monthly mortgage payments to increase by $750 a month.
The Coopers, who have filed a civil lawsuit, told News Channel 8 they are furious at the previous owners of their home for failing to notify them of the issue.
“An even bigger lie was that you benefited from your own insurance company, plus then you benefited from us on something that was our dream,” Adam Cooper said. “It’s not fair. It’s not right.”
According to the Coopers, the only hint the Surrenas gave them of the sinkhole issue was a brief handwritten note on the disclosure form about a "small depression" near the pool. According to the scribbled note, the problem was minor and would be "a waste of time and money to repair."
The Coopers said they never even received this form with the note on it until the Surrenas' real estate agent delivered it to them after they had closed on the home and their insurance company had already terminated their policy.
“In a case like this, it’s clear the system let the Coopers down,” said Josh Burnett, the family's civil attorney.
This was not the first incidence in which a family has discovered a major problem with their home after buying it. In September 2009, an Idaho couple bought their dream home only to discover that it was infested with hundreds of snakes, ABC News reported on June 16.