Do we have recourse if the seller did not disclose that carpet was horribly stained with dog urine?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do we have recourse if the seller did not disclose that carpet was horribly stained with dog urine?

When we viewed the home, there were air fresheners plugged in. There were not visible stains on the fairly new plush carpet. On closing day, the air fresheners were not in place, but there was a strong curry or spice smell. The sellers had just moved out, so we assumed that cooked up something the day before. We moved in the next day and as the curry smell dissipated, and a urine smell becoming noticeable. Within a day, it became very strong. A black light revealed dog urine stains in every room. A carpet cleaner assessed the situation and determined that the carpet would have to be replaced. At that point we lifted up the carpet in some of the rooms and we found hundreds of stains. The hallway was almost all pet urine stains. The cost to have the carpet and padding replaced is around $5,500. We feel that the seller purposefully tried to mask the odor and didn’t disclose this in the disclosure documents.

Asked on November 6, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud which 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 bought the house had you known of the condition of the carpet and extensive pet urine stain damage to the house.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in a 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 a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property 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 actual value of the property acquired.

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 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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