What to do about a brokerwho has breached their professional duty?

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What to do about a brokerwho has breached their professional duty?

I bought a house 7 months ago but my agent hasn’t returned my documents yet. Agent always says she is too busy or has the documents in the car. Also, the roof report indicated that the house needed a replacement and that was supposed to be done by the seller. After 6 months, they haven’t done the roof yet. I bought the house after she confirming that roof will be taken care by the seller. I was about to back out from the sale after the roof report. I want to know if I can file a lawsuit against her for misleading me and not performing the roof job? Also for the inconvenience and stress that she has been caused me by holding my documents.

Asked on June 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues:

1) Lateness in returning documents--if you have actually suffered some cost, loss, damage, etc. due to this, you could sue for compensation for your losses, inflicted due to broker negligence. If you have not suffered any loss, it's unclear what you would sue for; the American legal system only compensates, as a general matter, for actual losses. You could seek a legal order  from a court forcing the broker to finish her work and return the documents. You can't sue for "inconvenience and stress," unfortunately.

2) If the seller agreed to fix the roof but did not, then you would sue the seller, not the broker--it would be the seller who violated  the contract/agreement. If the broker lied or misrepresented to you that the seller had agreed to fix the roof when the seller did not, then you might have a cause  of action, for probably the cost of the roof repairs, against the broker.


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