If my husband and I recently purchased our home, what are our rights if the seller did not disclose a flooding condition?

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If my husband and I recently purchased our home, what are our rights if the seller did not disclose a flooding condition?

This past Fall we had lots of rain and with a result of that, our back patio severely flooded. There is potential for water to get in the house and I have pictures of all of these instances. Due to a piece of mail that was delivered to our home to the previous renter, I was able to talk to her and ask her about the yard flooding. She said the owner was aware. This issue was never disclosed on the seller’s disclosure. We are unable to just request this from the previous sale of the home as the owner, agent, broker and original owners are all friends. Do you think we have a case?

Asked on December 23, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud.  Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment.
In other words, you would not have purchased the house had you known about the patio flooding.
Fraud is also applicable in cases of nondisclosure where the seller did not disclose a material fact which buyer could not have reasonably discovered prior to purchase.
Your damages (monetary compensation) in your lawsuit for fraud would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means that a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property purchased regardless of the fact that the actual loss suffered may have been less.
Out of pocket determination for damages for fraudulent misrepresentation  permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.
In addition to the seller/owner, you should also name the agent and broker as defendants in your lawsuit since they were parties to the transaction.


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