what remedy is there for a buyer when seller knowingly falsifies information in the seller’s disclosure statement of the purchase contract?

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what remedy is there for a buyer when seller knowingly falsifies information in the seller’s disclosure statement of the purchase contract?

Seller denied any knowledge of water damage. Two bathroom vanities have rotted base floors with visible mold. These base floors were covered with protective shelving plastic, and inspector did not look below shelving plastic. Second, seller reported in disclosure statement that all necessary permits were pulled and closed. During listing period, seller had new granite countertops installed in kitchen and did not pull permits, so the kitchen reconstruction does not meet code for electrical outlets. We the buyers are needing to replace both bathroom vanities and kitchen granite. Seller’s agent and buyer’s agent are coworkers. Buyer’s agent knew but did not disclose to buyers that seller’s agent personally was fixing plumbing problems identified in home inspection.

Asked on July 25, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller and buyer's agent 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, buyer would not have purchased the property had buyer known the true facts.
Fraud is also applicable in cases of nondisclosure of a material fact where buyer could not have reasonably discovered the item prior to purchase.
Damages (monetary compensation in a lawsuit for fraud) would be either benefit of the bargain or out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain is the difference between the actual value of the property and the value as represented.
Out of pocket loss is the difference between the value of what the buyer paid and the market value of what was received.
The lawsuit should also include a cause of action (claim) for negligence against the home inspector.
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). Damages would be the costs incurred as a result of inspector's negligence.


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