Does a buyer have any rights over undisclosed mold?

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Does a buyer have any rights over undisclosed mold?

We purchased a property with a lot of mold – had to remove drywall and all
kitchen cabinets. The inspector said there was ‘some mold’ – that we could clean
up with bleach – he was wrong. Is there any recourse against the inspector or the
seller?

Asked on August 10, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud and the inspector for negligence.
Fraud 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 property had you known its true condition.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit for fraud) would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means that a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property purchased 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.
Negligence on the part of the inspector- Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Your damages for negligence would be what the negligence caused such as costs incurred for the mold and the new cabinets, etc.
You would file one lawsuit naming the seller and inspector as defendants.  Fraud and negligence are separate causes of action (claims) in the lawsuit.


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