Can I take the previous owners to court for not disclosing A/C problems?

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Can I take the previous owners to court for not disclosing A/C problems?

I closed on my first home about 4 months ago. About a month ago, I turned on the AC for the first time. This is when I noticed that the front of the house didn’t really get any air. I called someone to come check it out and they said it was due to the long ducks and this problem has existed since the house was built 16 years ago. I assume that the previous owners knew of this and failed to disclose this information. Is there anything I could do?

Asked on June 10, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller (previous owner) for fraud.  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 air conditioning problem.
Fraud also applies in cases of nondisclosure where the buyer could not have reasonably discovered the true facts prior to purchase.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit for fraud) would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means 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 damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.


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