If there was an undisclosed mold issue when we purchased our house, can anything be done to hold the seller responsible?

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If there was an undisclosed mold issue when we purchased our house, can anything be done to hold the seller responsible?

My husband and I bought our house 9 months ago and have been battling a severe mold issues ever since. I am severely allergic to mold to the point that it has cost us thousands of dollars in medical bills, several hundreds of dollars in lost wages due to not being well enough to go to work and has almost gotten to the point of me needing hospitalization. It has also costed us a few thousand dollars to remediate the issue. The seller did sign a disclosure stating they did not know of any mold issues at the time of sale but, getting to know the neighbors they have said that this has been a known/ongoing issue with this house for years. After closing we noticed they painted the basement with waterproofing paint and in the coming months the mold has eaten through the paint. This was how we identified the issue that was making me severely ill. I have recently contacted our realtor about the issue and she reached out to the seller’s agent to see if the seller would be willing to try and settle this issue without legal action. If not do I possibly have a case that would stand a chance in court? If so, what steps

would I need to take to ensure I have the best chances at winning a case?

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 4 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 purchased the house had you known about the mold.
Fraud also applies when there is nondisclosure of a material fact where the buyer could not have reasonably discovered the true fact(s) prior to purchase.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit) for fraud 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 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.
You have a strong case for fraud against the seller.
The following evidence should be gathered to have a very strong case for fraud against the seller: photos of the mold and the mold eating through the paint, your medical bills, medical reports and wage loss, a declaration signed under penalty of perjury from your neighbors who stated that the mold has been an ongoing issue with the house for years, bills for what you described as "remediating" the issue.


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