How long after purchasing a property can you sue the realtor for misrepresenting a disclosure leadinganeighbor suing me?

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How long after purchasing a property can you sue the realtor for misrepresenting a disclosure leadinganeighbor suing me?

A realtor representing the seller and me, the buyer, on the disclosure checked no shared fences but there was an encroachment. The neighbor’s house was over the property line onto the parcel for sale. I was OK with that. An hour before closing on the final walk-through he mentioned that I may have a problem with a small metal shed in the middle of the parcel. He said there is a “prescriptive easement” (that he never before mentioned). The neighbor sued me a 1-1/2 years later after I removed the shed.

Asked on November 7, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I believe that the statute of limitations for fraud--the most likely basis in which you'd potentially sue--in California is 3 years. However, note that to make out a case for fraud, you need to show knowing misrepresention, made with an intention that you rely on it--i.e. you need to show that the realtor essentially lied deliberately to you. So an oversight is not necessarily fraud. However, there are other, larger issues to consider anyway: 1) why didn't the easement show on your title search or deed? 2) if the easement is valid, do you have recourse to your title insurane--the title search *should* have found it; and 3) or is it the case that the easement is not valid and you should be able to overturn or eliminate it? In addition to possibly speaking to a personal injury attorney to sue, you should speak to a real estate lawyer about the easement itself.


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