Can the seller be responsible for bad pipes?

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Can the seller be responsible for bad pipes?

We purchased a home and at closing we were told after signing that there was a sump pimp in a crawl space below the house. 10 months later our pipes rotted. A plumber told us there is no reason for a sump pump in a crawl space. To my knowledge there was never a sump pump during the home inspection nor was anything mentioned until after closing. We didn’t think anything of it, partly because we didn’t know anything about it and partly because it was raining a lot. Are there any grounds to

go after the sellers?

Asked on April 19, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the seller knew the pipes were in poor condition and did not disclose it, you can sue the seller for fraud.
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, you would not have bought the house had you known of the condition of the pipes.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit for fraud against the seller) would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means that a defrauded seller 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 of 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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