there was damage on the house that i bought that was not disclosed in escrow, I want to sue the old owners for the cot to fix, is over a year too long?

We bought a house over a year ago, when purchasing the house and in escrow, it
was noticed that there was damage on one of the windows. I would like to try and
sue the previous owners for the cost it would be to fix the window. How long is the
statute in this situation?

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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can only sue them if they committed fraud: that is, if they knew (or logically *must* have known) of the damage but despite knowing of it, failed to disclose it; so if they did not know of this damage, they are not liable for it.
Even if they did know and fail to disclose it, if the damage could reasonably have been perceived/seen/found/etc. by you (or someone looking at the home for you, like a home inspector), it's not fraud: only damage hidden from you is required to be disclosed, since if a buyer can see it for themselves, there was no deception. So if this damage was noticeable and you could have seen it when you walked through or looked at the house, then even if you happened to not notice it at the time, you can't sue.
If you can sue (they failed to disclose hidden damage known to them), then in your state, you have up to three (3) years to file your lawsuit.

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