What can we if the seller lied on the disclosure form?

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What can we if the seller lied on the disclosure form?

We purchased our home 3 years ago. The disclosure states they never had water in the basement or seepage of any kind. Every spring since the basement has flooded and during a hurricane we had 4 ft of water. The furnace, water conditioner, oil tank and many other things were lost. All 3 neighbors said they definitely had water problems prior and definitely knew about them. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on September 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In every state in this country, the seller of an item be it a house, boat or home has an obligation to disclose all facts known to the seller about the item offered for sale that would materially affect its desirability or the price paid by a willing buyer.

Failure to do so could lead to a cause of action for concealment and the possible cancellation of the transaction. You appear to have a cause of action for concealment. You need to retain an attorney and an expert to establish the cause of the water intrusion and the costs to repair. Your possible damages would be the lesser of the current costs of repair or the overpayment for the home (diminution in value) at close of escrow.

As the plaintiff, you would have the burden of establishing liability and damages. It would be prudent to get statement in writing from the three neighbors about prior flooding. You should retain an attorney as soon as possible in that you might have statute of limitations issues.

Good luck.


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