Do we have a monetary lawsuit against the real estate broker, seller and/or title company?

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Do we have a monetary lawsuit against the real estate broker, seller and/or title company?

We purchased a home. All owner and realtor forms and disclosures say nothing about an ‘X’ grade flood zone. The survey received at closing lists flood zone as a single line item referencing Brevard county flood zone map. The flood zone is not marked on the survey. The city has additional requirements for proposed swimming pool because of flood zone. We don’t know the cost since we dropped swimming pool purchase because of flood zone information. The lien holder did not require flood insurance but not sure if they knew about flood zone. Also, have been told that home value will be less now that flood zone is identified.

Asked on February 1, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You may have a lawsuit against the seller for not disclosing the flood zone: to have a viable suit, you'd have to be able to show that the seller either knew, or reasonably must have known (i.e. any seller in their position logically must have known) of the flood zone but despite knowing of it, failed to disclose it. But there must be evidence of their knowledge: the lawsuit or claim would be based on fraud, and since fraud is essentially intentionally lying, there must be knowledge. If the seller did not know, the seller is not liable.
The broker is not liable because they do not have to research or provide this information: they are allowed to rely on what the seller tells them.
If the survey referenced a county flood zone map, the title company is not liable; while they may not have done their job well, they did provide the necessary information.


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