Do we have any recourse

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Do we have any recourse

We bought a home and now we have found out that it floods every time it rains. The farmer next door property drains into our property. Our yard is completely submerged every time in rains. The seller never said a word about this. Is there anything we can do?

Asked on August 26, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the seller logically must have known of the flooding (e.g. he or she lived there long enough to have experienced it), then he or she likely committed fraud by not disclosing it: fraud is the misrepresentation (which can be done by lying by omission, as well as by express mispresentations) of a material or important fact, made to induce you to do something (e.g. buy the home), and upon which you reasonably relied (no good reason to doubt or mistrust it). Fraud can provide a basis for seeking compensation: e.g. the cost to do some water/drainage remediation. You may have grounds for a lawsuit, therefore, if the seller will not voluntarily provide compensation.
Note that if the logically the seller did not know about the flooding--the seller was a foreclosing lender or investor who never lived there, or someone who did a fast "flip" of the property without living there, etc.--they may well not be liable; fraud is based on lying, and lying requires that you knew the true facts.
If the farmer has deliberately landscapped, etc his land so as to drive or divert the run-off to your property, that could constitute a "nuisance" and give you a basis to sue him: while he is not responsible for the natural slope or contour of the land, he may not deliberately act so as to divert a problem from his land to his neighbors.
Based on what you write, it would be worth your while to consult with an attorney to explore your options.


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