Can I sue a homebuilder, who sold me a housefor which there wereunpaid utility bills?

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Can I sue a homebuilder, who sold me a housefor which there wereunpaid utility bills?

A few months ago I bought a house from a homebuilder. It was not a short sale. 2 months later I got water and sewer bills for the period of time, when I was not an owner of this property. I payed those bills to avoid penalties since utility charge sticks to the property, not to the owner. Of course unpaid bills were not disclosed in seller self-disclosed form. Is there any chance for me to get my money back from that builder? How can I protect myself from something like this in future?

Asked on November 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You may absolutely sue the builder for these bills, on one of two likely grounds:

1) breach of contract--these were additional costs not in the contract of sale and therefore for which  you should be liable; you contracted to buy a house a) for a certain total price and b) free and  clear of anything that could potentially affect title (e.g. liens could have been obtained for these bills)

2) fraud--they builder misrepresented to you by not disclosing the existence of unpaid bills; since it's material, or important, to know whether or not your buying a home that has liabilities already attached to it and which could have trouble with utilities, these were things that should have been disclosed


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