Written by attorney James S. Tupitza

What do you do when the Seller fails to disclose a Defect in the house

There are three basic remedies for failure to disclose in PA.

First is a claim under the PA Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act. Under the act, the court MAY treble your damages and award attorneys fees to you.

Second, is a basic action for misrepresentation. Misrepresentation comes in three flavors. 1) Fraudulent misrepresentation, 2) Negligent misrepresentation and 3) Innocent misrepresentation. They ar progressively easier to prove, BUT be careful, the only remedy for innocent misrepresentation is recission. ( You give the house back and seller gives you your money back.)

Third is a claim under the PA Seller's Disclosure Act. This claim is a fall back if you cannot prove your case under the first or second points above. The biggest defense to the first and second remedies is often found in your contract. If your contract has what is known as an integration clause ( a clause which says, there are no representations and no agreements other than those inthe written contract) you may be barred, by the parol evidence rule, from offering evidence of the lies told you by the seller. You will be stuck with this third claim.

Additional resources provided by the author

"Litigating the Failure to Disclose Case" Pennsylvania Bar Institute. 2011

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