What are our rights if my boyfriend and I purchased a home 3 months ago and our kitchen roof suddenly collapsed due to a pre-existing mold condition?

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What are our rights if my boyfriend and I purchased a home 3 months ago and our kitchen roof suddenly collapsed due to a pre-existing mold condition?

After the debris settled we noticed that there was black mold and new installation. We believe that the previous homeowners knew of this issue and covered it up. Is there anyway to pursue this matter in court or should I just contact our home insurance and file a claim ?

Asked on January 6, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller (previous owner) for fraud.  Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation 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 of the mold and condition of the roof.
Fraud is also applicable in cases of nondisclosure of a material fact by the seller which the buyer could not have reasonably discovered prior to purchase.
Your damages (monetary compensation) for fraud  would be either benefit of the bargain or 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 the actual value of the property acquired.


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