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?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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