Do I have grounds to sue the contractor of a newly purchased home?

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Do I have grounds to sue the contractor of a newly purchased home?

When the property was flipped, the A/C unit’s ductwork was relocated from the crawlspace to the attic. I called the Department of Building Permits and Inspections of our city and was made aware that, by law, the relocation of A/C ductwork requires a building permit and there were no permits obtained in relation to A/C ductwork at this address. I have proof that the ductwork was

done illegally by the contractor hired by the seller of the house and it was also installed poorly, causing the unit to not function properly, and will cost us at least $1,200 to reroute the ductwork legally and properly. We had an inspection before buying the home, however the inspector was not required to check on the layout of the ductwork. Do I have a case to sue?

Asked on July 18, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may have grounds to sue. It depends on whether the seller committed fraud--i.e. knowingly lied about something important. If the seller represented or promised that everything was permitted when in fact it was not, then he committed fraud in that regard and you could sue him. Or if you can show that he was aware of significant functioning problems with the unit (the problems must have been significant, and he must have been aware in order to have lied), then he may have committed fraud by not disclosing the problem(s) and so effectively representing that it functioned properly. But without some provable  lie, he would not be liable.


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