Disclosure form

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Disclosure form

I live in Charleston, SC were it is required to fill out a disclosure form on any known issues that are known when selling your home. We bought our house a

year and a half ago and have discovered major problems a lot involving leaking is that is requiring us to tear apart our kitchen, 2 bathrooms and replace flooring from under the house. These issues were covered with paint, plywood, and insulation to hide the issue instead of fixing it. The law says that we can sue because of the disclosure act. Do you think its worth it?

Asked on June 21, 2018 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the seller knew or under the facts *must* have known then you would have a viable case and could sue with  reasonable chance of winning (no lawsuit is ever certain, so you should never 100% count on winning). The issue is, can you show that they knew or must have known? If they put down the paint, plywood, etc. to cover the problems, you can show they knew; on the other hand, say that they only owned the home briefly before selling it to you and the prior owner had covered up the damage--in that case, you likely could not show that they knew of the problem. Their knowledge is key to their liability.
As to whether it's worth it to sue: that's a cost-benefit decision. How much money are you talking about? Is it worth it to you to go through the time, effort, and cost of suing and, most likely, hire a lawyer (since if you don't have an attorney, your chance of winning will be sharply lower) for that amount? And, do you think the seller has money to pay if you sue and win--if the seller is insovent, even if you win, you won't get anything: a succesful lawsuit does not money appear where there is none.


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