What to do if today we purchased our home and immediately after the closing we found out that there is a gas leak in the home?

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What to do if today we purchased our home and immediately after the closing we found out that there is a gas leak in the home?

The gas company stated that the lines are not up to code and they shut off the gas completely. We had an inspection and the inspector mentioned he smelt gas, and that the stove was not lit. The seller responded saying the stove was old and pilot needs to be lit before use, thus leaving a small gas odor. We have to have the gas lines brought up to code as soon as possible so we can have the gas turned back on. On the disclosure the seller stated “unknown” for everything except the roof and sewer system. I was wondering what rights do we have to make the seller reimburse us or pay for the work?

Asked on August 26, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller 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 bought the house had you known about the gas line / gas leak.
Fraud is also applicable in cases of nondisclosure by the seller in which the buyer could not have reasonably discovered the true facts.
Your damages monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for fraud would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means that a defrauded purchaser can 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 misrepresentations permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.
 


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