Can I take action against the prior homeowners for non-disclosure?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I take action against the prior homeowners for non-disclosure?

We purchased our house just over a year ago and have had multiple issues in the time. We had to remove a large back deck because it was pulling on the house, causing structural damage, as well as had to replace the HVAC because the furnace was not running properly. Most recently, we found out that the previous owner had prior knowledge of plumbing issues we got access to the plumbing test

for the house that was completed before the sale but the previous owner specifically marked that they knew of no plumbing issues. There are also multiple cracks in the sheetrock walls that were covered up at the time of sale. I have documentation for everything mentioned above.

Asked on September 21, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Texas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud and the home inspector for negligence.
Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation or nondisclosure 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, had you known the true condition of the house, you would not have bought it.
Damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) for fraud are 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 determination for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and actual value of the property acquired.
Negligence on the part of the home inspector 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). The home inspector would be liable for what was caused by the negligence such as cost of repairs, etc.
You would file one lawsuit naming both the seller and home inspector as defendants.  Fraud against the seller and negligence against the home inspector are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.

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 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.

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