What to do if we bought a home this summer but have since found out that it is not up to code?

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What to do if we bought a home this summer but have since found out that it is not up to code?

As soon as we moved in we began repairs. During the repairs we have found that they house was not built up to standard codes. These code violations are costing us thousands and thousands of dollars to repair. They also pose a serious potential for illness if we do not make the repairs (mold). The owner was also the builder of our home. What can we do? Can we force them to pay for the repairs that are easily going to be in the 70-100K range?

Asked on November 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire


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

Answered 11 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, had you known of the code violations, you would not have purchased the house.

Fraud also applies in cases of nondisclosure where the seller failed to disclose material facts which the buyer could not have reasonably discovered prior to purchase.

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 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 may have been less.

Out of pocket damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.

Your lawsuit against the seller for fraud could also include a separate cause of action (claim) for negligence against the home inspector for not detecting the code violations.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable home inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Your damages for negligence against the home inspector would be the cost of repairs.

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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