If a seller does not disclose a problem with an appliance in their disclosure statement, what are a buyer’s rights after the closing?

I just recently purchased a house in NE and the seller filled out a property disclosure. In it they stated that the dishwasher was “working”. The first day after closing on the house we turned the dishwasher on to run it once to clean it out;it leaked all over the kitchen floor. We contacted a repair man about this who specializes in plumbing and he said that the dishwasher could not have worked the last time it was run because of the extent of the damage. After contacting our real estate agent, who’s son was the seller’s agent, he said there was nothing we could do since we had already closed.

Asked on August 19, 2011 Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the seller affirmatively, or actively, misrepresented, or lied, about something, he could be liable for the costs or damages resulting from that misrepresentation, regardless of whether the home has closed or not. In this case, if he actively lied about the condition of the washer, he is potentially liable for the ost to repair it and/or any damage the leak did (e.g. to cabinets, flooring). The problem is that since the house has closed, if the seller won't pay you, your only recourse to seek compensation would be to sue him, which plainly can cost you time and money. Since a lawsuit is never a given--i.e. you can't count on winning--you may spend money and time and yet lose. You therefore need to decide whether it is worth it to seek this recourse or--depending on the cost to repair--it may be best to absorb the cost yourself.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.