Are there any rights a buyer has when something probably should have been in the seller disclosure but they didn’t?

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Are there any rights a buyer has when something probably should have been in the seller disclosure but they didn’t?

I bought my house almost 2 years ago. The seller said that the basement only had a tiny leak once.

Yet, every time we get a hard rain the basement gets drenched in water. Do I have any legal action that I can take? Have I owned the home for too long? Is there anything else I can do?

Asked on May 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You may be out of time, but if not, you are running out of time and must act quickly.
A seller has a legal obligation to disclose problems or conditions of which he is aware but which will not be readily apparent to a buyer--like basement water infiltration, which would only be obvious if the buyer happened to view the basement during a hard rain. If the seller knew (which includes if the circumstances suggest the seller must have known) of a problem but did not disclose it, that is likely fraud; fraud provides a basis to recover compensation, such as the cost to put in french drains or other waterproofing.
However, the statute of limitations ("SOL"), or time within which you must file a fraud lawsuit in PA is only 2 years; once two years have passed since the closing, it is too late to file. Therefore, while you may have a claim, based on the time frame you indicate, you either are soon to be out of time or already just out; in case you still have time, contact a lawyer IMMEDIATELY about this matter and getting a lawsuit filed. Good luck.


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