What can be done if a home inspector missed a support beam issue that we believe the seller knew about?

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What can be done if a home inspector missed a support beam issue that we believe the seller knew about?

We purchased a flipped house over 2 1/2 years ago. A year later we noticed a hairline crack in the bedroom. Conventional wisdom was to monitor for widening. Nothing

happened. Now, we’ve noticed the walls separating from the ceilings in the halls and into the living room area.We believe the ‘flipper’ knew of these defects and covered them up. There have been 2 reputable crawl space companies which have inspected and informed us of a problem with the support beams that has been in existence for some time. What recourse do I have?

Asked on March 27, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the applicable statute of limitations has not expired, you can sue the inspector for negligence and the seller for fraud.  A single lawsuit is filed naming both as defendants.
Negligence on the part of the inspector is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable home inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs and any other costs caused by the inspector's 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 house had you known its true condition.
Damages (monetary compensation in your lawsuit for fraud against the seller) 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 for damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and actual value of the property acquired.


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