If sale contract is void at conception because sellers misrepresented ownerip, can I claim damages.

Sellers children are on the deed. This may have been unknown or misrepresented.
Now, with only two weeks until my current lease is up, I will be unable to purchase a
home and will be forced to rent again. My ability to secure an affordable rental in an
equivalent living space is compromised.

Asked on October 21, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if a contract is void due to fraud (a material or important misrepresentation, such as who owns the property or the ability to transfer clean title), then a party injured by the fraud can sue for monetary compensation. Fraud is a separate ground for recovering compesation which can be pursued even when there is no breach of contract.
The compensation would be the extra costs you incurred due to the contract being voided. Example: say that if you had been able to buy the home, your monthly all-in cost (utilities, mortgage, taxes, insurance) would be $2,000. Say that to rent a comparable space has an all-in cost (rent; any utilities, additional fees, etc. you have to pay) of $2,500 per month. You were injured or damaged in this case for $500 per month, the monthly difference or increase in what you have to pay. You could recover, in this example, that $500/month difference for a reasonable time, with "reasonable" depending on circumstances. For example, if you have to sign  a one-year lease, for 12 months (so  12 x $500 = $6,000).


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