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Can I sue Real Estate agent for Fraud by covering defects of the house we bought?

La Puente, CA |

When the agent showed us the house he was selling, they had done a lot of make-up work to the house and hided the actual problems that the house had (maybe for years). He acted as both selling agent for the bank and buying agent for me (he didn't accept agent offer and tried to deal with me directly). After the first year, we saw that the house was leaking terribly and damaged the wall and also leaking on balcony which damaged the garage. That time we didn't have extra money to re-do the roofing. The agent sent the guy who did the repair work for them to come back and fix the leaking. The contractor couldn't fix it and said the bank/agent paid them too little to have it fully repaired. Can we still sue the real estate agent / bank for knowingly covering the defects? Almost 2 years passed.

Is there a time frame that I need to bring them to charge?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Way too much to analyze on this website. I've handled these cases, in Maryland. You need a real estate savvy litigator. He/she will read all your documents, and interview you about when the defects were discovered. He/she will tell you about the laws of agency or dual agency in CA, and give you an opinion about your rights, and how to enforce them.

    Don't let more time pass, make an appointment.


  2. The Statute of Limitations to bring an action for fraud is 3 years (CCP 338), so you have time. I doubt if you have a case against the bank - the bank doesn't have first hand knowledge of any conditions, and probably sold the REO property to you "as-is". The real culprit here is the agent; fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Get out your contracts and take them to a real estate attorney. You should be able to get a free consutation to review the facts of the case.

    Richard A. Rodgers, Esq. (805) 230-2525
    rar@sd-attorneys.com
    www.sdresq.com

    As stated in the AVVO.COM Terms and Conditions of Use, this answer is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship or privilige is created by this response.


  3. Attorney Rodgers is correct. The statute of limitations for fraud is three years, so there is still time to sue the agent (not the bank) for fraudulent concealment and breach of fiduciary duty.


  4. I'm curious, why not the bank -- it is responsible for its agents defalcation? Why not the Agent's Broker? There could be insurance coverage in these circumstances. This appears, from the facts provided, to be a dual fiduciary circumstance that reflects in the limited facts presented by the buyer/homeowner.
    The buyer/homeowner needs to review the contracts and other papers signed in the deal to see if there is an application of the requirements of California law regarding disclosure in the sale of residential property. Something the Maryland attorney may know nothing about. S/he should also see if the CAR forms were used and countersigned for mediation , a precondition to obtain attorneys fees if called out in the contracts.
    DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO or LinkedIn systems and their respective terms and conditions. It discusses general legal principles, trends, and considerations and is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship.


  5. As I was moving on, I remembered that the CAR forms insert a Contractual shortening of the Statute of Limitations from 3 to 2 years, dealing with actions against the Broker and/or Agent. Best check that provision and see if you can still bring an action against the Broker and the Agent.
    DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO or LinkedIn systems and their respective terms and conditions. It discusses general legal principles, trends, and considerations and is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship.

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