We purchased a home in 2014, and over the last 3 years we have dealt with flooding. Are the sellers liable?

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We purchased a home in 2014, and over the last 3 years we have dealt with flooding. Are the sellers liable?

My husband and I bought a house in Mexia, TX in July 2014 during a drought and after signing all of the papers, the seller made a comment ‘make sure you clean the gutters often or there will be big problems’. I asked what that meant, and he said water would come up to the porch, but that was it. My husband was not available at the signing, so I didn’t think to look further. The Seller and the Attorney dealing with the sale are best friends, just FYI. Now, the first heavy rain, water was inside our house. We made sure the gutters were cleaned and water still came in. Every year, we have dealt with flooding at least twice a year due to heavy storms. We’ve had people come out and try to fix the issue, but it doesn’t help. We had a consult done with someone to replace our gutters and see what options he had to make rain water go away from the house and that person said he had come out before with the previous owners because of the same issue. Now, we don’t live in the home now, but we rent it out and it’s happened since our tenants have been there. We did not get an inspection done – I thought we did, but I can’t find the paperwork if we did. My question is, without an inspection, wouldn’t the sellers still be liable to tell us there had been flooding? I don’t think this issue just happened after they moved out.

Asked on April 10, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud.  Fraud 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 the true facts about the house flooding when it rains.
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 that 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 actual value of the property acquired.
Your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  It would be advisable to contact a Texas real estate attorney immediately.


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