We purchased our current home in November 2016. We discovered in December that the seller did not disclose flooding incidents in the past due to poor construction, and had purposefully covered up months to years of water damage that was left without repair or remedy. As a result, the wall cavities are filled with an overgrowth of toxic black mold, while some of the structural beams had rotten away. The damages are so well-hidden by the seller that the inspection company we hired was not able to discover them in time. Portions of home became uninhabitable due to the severity of the mold. We had to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket to remove contamination and repair damages since our home owner insurance policy does not cover this specific situation. The mold contamination also aggravated my husband's existing health issues; I am pregnant and the amount of damage to my baby and my health is still unknown.
Aside from physical and emotional damage, we would like to know if we still hold a chance to sue the seller for the cost of repairs? Thanks in advance!
Yes you can. This is a very normal garden variety non-disclosure case. A seller in a transaction in California has a duty to disclose any known material defects. A breach of that duty would give rise to BOTH a breach of contract (as the duty is in the contract) and also breach of a statutory duty of disclosure. If a seller takes any steps to cover up the defect, then it is fraud.
Not only can you get all of your damages, but likely punitive damages and attorneys fees as well if the standard CAR contracts were used.
While we have dealt with hundreds of these cases over the years and they are very common, be careful to make sure that whatever lawyer you retain understands the expected pre-litigation requirements that are found in the standard contracts. If someone misses the a mandatory pre-litigation mediation requirement of a contract that could cost thousands of dollars in lost attorneys fees.
Many of us attorneys on AVVO offer free initial telephonic or in person consultations, I suggest you take advantage of one.
Kevin A. Spainhour, Esq. - Hopefully this information is helpful. My answering this question giving my general thoughts does not create an attorney/client relationship and is not a legal opinion. The only way to create an attorney client relationship is to retain our services with a written retainer agreement signed by an officer of our firm. More information regarding our services can be found at www.oslawyer.com
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