What can we do if we closed on a home that an improperly installed toilet that was flooding at the time?

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What can we do if we closed on a home that an improperly installed toilet that was flooding at the time?

My wife and I recently purchased our first home. The seller flipped the property and is also the listing agent. At 9 p.m. the night before closing, my realtor and I walked through the property to conduct a final walk-through. A few minor items needed to be addressed but everything else checked out. I closed on the property at the realtor’s office at 9 a.m. the following morning and entered the property at 3 p.m. to find extensive water damage in the home. The second story floater valve had popped off and water was streaming from the ceiling and to the basement. I immediately called my insurance and filed a claim. The repairs took about 2 months to complete and will be a hit to my insurance, though I am attempting to push this through their subro department. Based off a normal flow rate, I would imagine the water started to cause damage prior to my ownership of the home. Do I have additional legal options to pursue the seller or toilet installer? Secondly, the seller lied on the disclose that the A/C was working; he stated that it was in working condition. However, after attempting to turn it on, it failed. An electrical whip was not even connected to the outside unit and once connected the unit did not sufficiently cool the home. This resulted in an additional 10k loss for a new HVAC system. Several other

Asked on August 28, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud, which 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 purchased the house had you known its true condition.
Your damages ( monetary compensation you are seeking in your 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 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 actual value of the property acquired.
You can sue the toilet installer for negligence in the same lawsuit you are filing against the seller for fraud.  Your primary case is against the seller for fraud regarding the water damage, HVAC, and other items that are "breaking and unprofessionally installed".


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