If I purchased a house 2 years ago off of a local man that flips houses but he misrepresented the condition of the roof, legally is there anything that I can do?

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If I purchased a house 2 years ago off of a local man that flips houses but he misrepresented the condition of the roof, legally is there anything that I can do?

He filled out a form that stated there was only one layer of shingles on the roof he dated and signed the form.This went to the morgage company. After the roof started sagging, it was found that there are 3 layers of shingles. I am now replacing the roof, plus the supporting beams and tails.

Asked on October 21, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Assuming, as is likely the case, that he knew about the multiple layers of shingles and knowingly lied about them, then he likely committed fraud (fraud is knowingly misrepresenting a material, or important, fact to get someone else to do or buy something, when it is reasonable for the second person to rely on the misrepresentaton). If so, his fraud would entitle you to compensation, such as the cost of the repairs/replacement if he won't pay you compensation voluntarily, you could sue him.
His knowledge is critical fraud depends on a knowing lie, not just being mistaken. If he did not know about the extra shingles, he would not be liable for fraud. While it can be very difficult to prove what someone did or did not know, you can effectively prove knowledge by showing that based on the facts, he logically must have known. For example, if he did any repair work to the roof or attic, he'd logically have known about the shingles, as he would have had he had the home thoroughly inspected.


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