If the seller did not disclose a leaky roof and yard damage, now 4 years after purchase, do I still have a chance to sue?

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If the seller did not disclose a leaky roof and yard damage, now 4 years after purchase, do I still have a chance to sue?

Seller did not disclose 2 leaks in roof and fire damage to trees in back yard.

Repair was attempted by seller on both leaks poor quality never disclosed. A fire in back yard damaged 5 trees had to pay for tree removal recently due to 1 falling down never disclosed. The township has record of fire but not of fault. 4 years after buying this home I am paying to repair these defects. Do I have a case to sue to get reimbursed for these repairs?

Asked on July 20, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Fortunately, New Jersey has a longer statute of limitations (time to start a lawsuit) for fraud (a mispresentation or failure to disclose material, or important, facts) than most states: 6 years. So you are still in time to sue.
Whether you can win depends on whether you show that the seller knew, or under the circumstances reasonably (that is, logically) must have known, that the repairs were faulty and the leaks remained, and that the trees had been damaged by fire. There is no liability, reasonably enough, for failing to disclose what you did not know, since in that case, you did nothing wrong; therefore, you have to be able to demonstrate the seller's knowledge of the problems (that problems remained--e.g. that leaks had not been properly fixed) to successfully sue and win the case.


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