What recourse do I have if our former neighbor thinks he knows all the issues with your house and is passing that information around?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What recourse do I have if our former neighbor thinks he knows all the issues with your house and is passing that information around?

Our house is on the market in but we have already left the state. Our neighbor next door is in partnership with another agent and is angry because they did not get the listing. We had some issues with the foundation 11 years ago and the builder came in and fixed those issues; for the last 9 years we have not had any foundation problems. We disclosed this to our realtor and have the documents that show the work was completed by licensed contractors. Our neighbor is making disparaging remarks about the house and telling others about the previous problem. Do we have any recourse? Our house has been on the market for almost 6 months with 1 failed offer. It appears they are trying

to go to any length to prevent the sale of our home, including showing up at an Open House and making disparaging remarks all within ear shot of potential


Asked on July 25, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the neighbor is telling lies--that is, stating factual untruths--about your home, you could sue him for defamation and also for "tortious" (or wrongful) interference with economic advantage (basically, using legally improper means, like defamation, to interfere with selling your home). In the lawsuit, you could seek both monetary compensation for any losses or costs (like the carrying costs since you've been unable to sell it) as well as court order barring him from doing this in the future.
However, if he is telling true things, even if they are ones you wish he would not tell or reveal, you have no recourse against someone revealing true facts, since any person may reveal any true facts they know so long as they had not signed a confidentiality, etc. agreement.
Or if he is only stating opinions (e.g. "I think the home is overpriced for what you get"), you also cannot sue: the law allows everyone to have and state their own opinion. Only untrue factual assertions would be defamation and illegal.

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