When purchasing a new home, you may rely on the assurances of the seller when entering into the purchase. Unfortunately, some property sellers may attempt to disguise that their property is infested with termites. Purchasing a home that has a termite problem can mean losing a significant amount of money necessary to exterminate the termites and repair your home. If you or a family member unknowingly purchased a home with termites due to the fraudulent representations of the seller, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore termite inspection lawyer.
At Whitney, LLP, our fraudulent inspection lawyers can help you build a claim against a property seller that intentionally deceived you. We understand how stressful it can be to deal with a home that is infested with termites and we are here to fight for you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, call (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.
Maryland Real Estate Disclosure Laws Concerning Termites
Termites are wood-consuming insects that exist in large colonies and that typically swarm in the spring and late summer. Termites usually prefer to consume softwoods but are capable of infesting most types of wood. These insects are also capable of chewing through wallpaper, plants, flooring, and other types of organic matter.
Virtually every home in the United States contains a significant amount of wood that termites can consume. Termites can cause severe structural damage to a person’s home. Due to the difficulty of completely exterminating termites and the expense of repairing damage caused by termites, some homeowners may conceal the existence of termites when selling their property.
Fortunately, Maryland has a variety of real estate disclosure laws to protect someone who purchases a home infested with termites due to the fraudulent misrepresentations of the seller. When selling a single-family home or condominium unit, the seller must use one of two forms to inform the potential buyer about the condition of the home: the Maryland Residential Property Disclosure Statement or the Maryland Residential Property Disclaimer Statement.
The disclosure statement is a series of specific questions about the status of the property. For example, line 13 of the disclosure form asks about the existence of “wood-destroying insects” and what actions have been taken to correct an infestation. The disclaimer form is a document that allows the seller to make no warranties or representations concerning the property and that allows the owner to sell the property “as is.”
Even with the use of a disclaimer statement, a seller is still required to disclose latent defects that may affect the property. A latent defect is a material issue with the property that cannot be detected by simply observing the property or an issue that is hazardous to the safety and health of the home’s occupants. For example, termites consume wood from the inside out; this means that it will be difficult for a buyer to find the existence of termites if they cannot recognize the signs of termites.
To learn more about Maryland real estate disclosure laws, you should contact an experienced Maryland termite damage attorney.
Suing a Property Seller for Fraud
If a property seller does not disclose that their property has a termite infestation, they can be held liable in a claim for fraud. Some sellers may attempt to deceive buyers by providing a buyer with a fraudulent home inspection report.
There are various signs that an inspector should search for to determine whether a property is infested with termites. For example, finding small mounds of termite wings and termite waste is two signs that a home has termites. If a termite control company intentionally provided a seller with an inaccurate or incomplete report that was used to defraud a buyer, they may also be liable to the buyer.
To prevail in a fraud lawsuit against a dishonest seller, you must prove the following elements:
- The seller intentionally or recklessly made a false representation to the buyer that concealed the existence of termites
- The seller made the misrepresentation to deceive the buyer into purchasing the home
- The buyer reasonably relied on the representations made by the seller
- The buyer suffered damages due to the seller’s misrepresentation
Our Towson, MD Fraudulent Home Inspection Attorneys Can Help You File Your Claim
If you or a family member purchased a home infested with termites due to a misrepresentation by the seller, you should contact an experienced Towson termite inspection attorney today. The diligent attorneys at Whitney, LLP are dedicated to providing you with the legal representation that you deserve. You should not bear the expense of repairing a property with termites because a seller concealed the truth. To schedule a free legal consultation regarding your claim, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.