Rihanna sues over water woes at mansion

Singer alleges that seller, home inspector, real-estate agent and others failed to disclose defects that led to serious damage.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Sep 6, 2011 5:44AM

Back in 2009, pop singer Rihanna bought a 10,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif.


Like most prospective home buyers, she hired a home inspector to look over the newly renovated home. But, she says, the inspector didn't do a good job: The first "moderate rainstorm" caused leaks that left the home uninhabitable. An umbrella was no help.

Now she is suing the inspector, the seller, her real-estate company, the engineer on the seller's renovation, the "John Does" who did the renovation and others, arguing that they failed to do their jobs.


That meant she ended up with a lemon, paying much more than the property was worth, she says.


"The rainwater pooled on the second-floor balcony and seeped into numerous rooms of the house, causing extensive water intrusion into various rooms," according to the suit.

She alleges that the seller knew of the defects and failed to disclose them.


She also alleges that her real-estate agent failed to perform the due diligence she expected, didn't provide her with information on sales of comparable properties and "became aware of or should have known of extensive construction defects in the property," but did not share that information with her client.


According to The Real Estalker, the house was listed at $8.89 million and Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Fenty, bought it for $6.9 million. The Real Estalker has a photo of the home.

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The modern house has eight bedrooms, 10 baths and a dramatic living room with walls of glass showcasing city and ocean views.

The pop star's suit alleges that the construction defects were uncovered by an engineer hired by her insurance company after the home suffered significant water damage.

Rihanna alleges that the home inspection service signed off on repairs that were inadequate. Her suit alleges fraud, professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and breach of implied warranty. She's seeking an unspecified amount in damages and a jury trial.


None of those named in the suit has made any public comments about the allegations.

Nov 16, 2011 4:48AM
It just goes to show you that just because a house is expensive it is not built by people of any higher caliber of workmanship.  As a construction inspector, I have seen some pretty terrible workmanship in high priced homes whereas I have seen some fine workmanship in inexpensive homes.  It all depends on the craft people and the inspectors.  Most city inspectors are not truly qualified to inspect having just taken a couple of classes on inspection.  In addition, there are also a lot of engineers that miss a few details in their designs.  There also are craft that if they see something that is not quilte right, they don't question the design as they should.  There is plenty of blame to go around.  I did an inspection for a home I was interested in buying and produced a 2 page list of issues.  The owner didn't even respond to my list and the realtor never called us back.  We are now happy in another home in the neighborhood that did pass inspection.
Sep 20, 2011 4:07AM
First you need to determine the actual reason for the damage. An inspector is not going to find every defect in a house, nor should he be expected to. If that were the case he would be pulling sheetrock off your walls (and you'd be paying him a lot more). The bottom line is if it was a known defect the previous homeowner should have disclosed it. Obviously there was no damage from previous rains so maybe something shifted slightly and this happened. Or the rain came at the perfect angle to infiltrate.. An inspector is going to tell you basic things wrong with your house.. i.e. there is signs this house has been treated for termites, or my readings indicate your A/C is not cooling very well, or this electrical run appears to be in violation of the required code..  Hopefully the remodel was done recently and the work is under warranty from the contractor. To say all of this was a cover up is joke. Why woud a realtor who sells $8 million houses risk their livlihood to cover this up. In realty a realtor doesnt care about construction defects. A realtor cares the buyer is happy and they get their 6%.   
Sep 15, 2011 6:08AM
Before making an offer it "PAYS" literally to go back at night and ask the neighbors about the house you are looking at.  In my development in Clifton Park, New York , there are two houses side by side that had plumbing trucks at the houses daily for six months to a year.  On top of that each homeowner had to move out of the house , one for over a year.  The reason is because all the sewage backed up in their basements due to the original contractor failing to properly make the sewage flow to the publ;ic sewer system.  They had to rebuild their baesments which was filled with "you know what".  They keep the windows open everyday now but the smell is never going to leave their houses.  Who wants to get stuck with a house that smells like sewage?  One of the houses had changed hands three times.  So thats a good indicator of a "problem house".  Its hard to feel sorry for these homeowners since they are not very nice people and are the kind who are stuck-up and always like to call 911 to complain about us when we do not bother with any neighbors.  Buyers beware, home inspectors know little or nothing about what their job is supposed to be.   They will sign off on anything to take your money.  Its best to look at the history of a house and see how often has it changed hands.  Thats a "RED FLAG".  The next red flag is how often are plumbing trucks at the house and the neighbors will know that.  So be bold and ask themabout a particular house.   Another dead giveaway is when fresh baked bread is being made while you are looking at the house or candles burning to hide bad smells.   Its always been a 'TRUEISM"  you can stop drafts, heat, cold, wind, snow, but you can't stop "WATER".     Water is always going to find its way in to a house.  Another sign is the house is overpriced, they are trying to recoup all the money spent on plumbers and trying to get rid of the smells and rebuilding they had to do.   A word to the wise never buy a house in a low area or on a flood plain of a river or creek.  I can guarantee you there is going to be flooding after you buy such a house.
Sep 14, 2011 7:52PM
Horrible. There should be a lemon law for houses. This is ridiculous. If you buy something, it should be what you signed on for not a "pig in a poke". Rihanna can afford to sue but she should not have to. There need to be better safeguards for home buyers. Untl then two words apply: CAVEAT EMPTOR...
Sep 9, 2011 2:59PM
Rihanna can afford to sue. Ordinary people cannot. So Rihanna will get her money back, but this case will not help ordinary Americans, in the same situation.
Sep 9, 2011 2:10PM

Real Estate Agents or Realtors gang up with others with all kinds of hidden scams, tricks, and kick backs. These Realtors only interested to make money and disappear quickly.

These crooks making it so confuse and complex. Take these Realtor, Inspector, Seller, Real Estate Company to court and make sure they never pratice again.

Sep 9, 2011 12:45PM

In So Cal most roof problems don't show up until a rain.  The roof will look perfect in every way until then.  Should REALTOR's and Home Inspectors hold up the sale of a property until a heavy rain to verify the roof is good?  I do hope none of you hurt yourself in jumping to conclusions of guilt.  If something was falsified or someone was paid off to look the other way then someone should pay. On the subject of comps to the property.  It is difficult to find comps for multi-million $$ homes built as a one of a kind structure with a one of a kind view.  However, this is the US and it is the American way to blame someone else for our own failures.  Maybe she should have shopped around a bit more instead of rushing into the first home she looked at.

Due Diligence on the Buyer part.

Sep 9, 2011 12:21PM

@KCCR007You can sue someone fairly easily for your defective house, assuming it was constructed within statute of limitations time frame (often 10 years).  Just pick up the phone and call a construction defect attorney.  Many will even work on contingency.  Is that so hard?  Wah wah, poor baby.


Sep 9, 2011 11:48AM

Good for her. Most people don't have the resources to do anything about this type of scam and that is what it was, a scam. They are all in collusion and should be sued and made to pay for it.


Just because she can afford this home does not mean she be penalized for their obvious dishonesty. You go girl!

Sep 9, 2011 10:21AM
Hi: Having lived in California most of my life I've had to deal with inspections and termite inspections and as a seller of several homes, have left things up to different services. I recall after one earthquake my home had a 4% tilt and how the service I hired covered this flaw for me. I once had a old home that had termite damage that had been cleaned up and hidden, but left me the new owner with the costly repairs. The banks were so broke back then, I got my mortgage from AZ and the second one from an outfit in New Jersey. The average home in my area went for two hundred fifty thousand. In truth, Rihanna can afford to sue, I never could sue anyone. She might be able to make a small difference and gain a victory for buyers out in California... but I'll bet she gets a mighty run-around and little else.
Sep 9, 2011 9:48AM

Because Rihanna is famous, I hope her voice is successfully heard.  I too purchased a home that had a useless home warranty.  These warranties are a farse !  They trip charge you and never find any problems they'll fix.

The inspectors are just as guilty.  Had I not been an out of state buyer I would have inspected it myself.  You'd do just as well, as my inspector found nothing wrong in a house with some defects.

They arent minimum wage workers. So why cant they do a decent job ?

Good luck Rihanna.  SSet a presidence.

Sep 9, 2011 8:22AM
I hope the company and all persons involved in the faulty workmanship of Rhianna's very expensive home handle their business and correct all of the problems that they created and overlooked during their inspection and renovation of this home. It is about doing what is right and not ripping off homeowners. This is not about the wealthy but anyone who has been stuck with a piss-poor product. So Rhianna get the best lawyers and people who can make this matter right. I wish you good luck but people all over the country are tired of being ripped off and cheated out of our money and what we expect for our money!!!   Go and Get Them Rhianna!!! 
Sep 9, 2011 8:15AM
Well it is unfortunate and I wish her all the luck  in the world. However why is it that the people with money can sue but the average Joe can not? We purchased out first home in 2004 and after we find many problems along with the leaking roof the inspector  failed to see. Anyway we have made at least 12 calls to different organizations along with the inspector and real estate and many others but we were told it was our problem. So once again how can she sue and we not we are supposed to be all equal here. This is one of the many things wrong with this crappy country,  the people in it.
Sep 6, 2011 11:49AM
This is very unfortunate.  Rihanna is very talented but I think that due to here youth and lack of experience with real estate she got taken advantage of.   Too bad she doesn't have someone older who she can trust for advice for matters such as this.  I was unemployed at the time that she bought this house and would have done the due diligence on this property if she had hired me to do so.
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