What are our rights if we purchased a home 5 months ago and now we have a tremendous mess on our hands as we uncovered black mold and fungal growth?

Sellers noted nothing wrong in disclosure, and the home was inspected. The report showed what would be considered “normal” issues considering the age of the home. We also have years worth of erosion in the framing and moisture level readings up to 99.9% on interior wall surfaces. There is much more to it, and will gladly discuss with an attorney. Do you think we have any legal ground to pursue a lawsuit?

Asked on October 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can file one lawsuit in which you sue the seller for fraud and the home inspector for negligence.
As for negligence against the home inspector, negligence is the failure to exercise due care that degree of care that a reasonable home inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm.
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 bought the house had you known about the mold, fungus and the other problems.
Fraud is also applicable in cases of nondisclosure by the seller of a material fact the buyer could not have reasonably discovered prior to purchase.
Since you have only lived in the house for five months, it is difficult to believe that the seller did not know about the mold, fungus and related issues.
Your damages monetary compensation you are seeking 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 might have been less.
Out of pocket recovery for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.
 


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