Whether you are buying a home for the first time or you are an experienced homebuyer, you always want to know everything about the property that you are purchasing. One of the worst defects that the seller of a home could conceal is the existence of termites. Termites can cause severe structural damage to a home and are extremely difficult to remove from a property. If you or a family member unknowingly purchased a home that contained termites, you should contact an experienced Baltimore fraudulent termite home inspection lawyer today.
At Whitney, LLP, our consumer lawyers can help you hold a fraudulent home seller accountable for their actions. We understand how frustrating it can be to purchase a home that is defective, and we are here to fight for you. To schedule a consultation, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.
What Information Must a Home Seller Disclose in Maryland?
The seller of a home in Maryland is subject to a variety of disclosure laws. A potential homebuyer relies on information provided from the seller when purchasing a home. If this information is fraudulent or inaccurate, the buyer can suffer serious economic damages from purchasing a home with termites.
Real estate sellers in Maryland have two options when they are disclosing information about property they own. The first option is to notify the buyer about all the known property defects using the Residential Property Disclosure Statement. The second option is to provide the buyer with a disclaimer concerning the state of the property via the Residential Property Disclaimer Statement. The seller of a home only has to choose one of these options, they are not obligated to perform both.
The disclosure form that a seller must fill out if they choose the first option is very intensive. This form is used to inform a potential buyer about any conditions or defects that affect the home. The form asks a series of questions about the home. Line 13 of the form specifically asks about the existence of any wood-destroying insects. The form leaves room for the seller to elaborate on any damage caused by the termites and whether the damage was corrected.
The disclaimer statement is an assurance that the property owner is selling the property “as is” and gives the buyer of the property of no warranties or representations concerning the property. However, even if a seller uses a disclaimer statement, they must still disclose any defects or latent defects. In Maryland, a latent defect is defined as a material defect that is not easily discoverable upon the visual inspection of a property.
While there are some warning signs that a property is infested with termites, they are not always easy to spot. For example, termites typically grow and shed wings that can be discovered around the property. However, that does not mean a potential buyer will be able to spot this and determine a property has termites.
To learn more about home seller disclosures, you should speak with an experienced Maryland termite damage lawyer.
Suing for Termite Damage After Buying a Home
If you were sold a home in Maryland and you discovered termite damage, you may have a cause of action for fraud. The seller of a home can be held liable for not disclosing material information about the property.
There are five elements that you must prove to prevail in a lawsuit for fraud:
- The seller made a false representation to the buyer
- The seller knowingly made a false representation or made the representation recklessly without verifying the truth
- The misrepresentation was intended to defraud the buyer into purchasing the home
- The buyer relied on the misrepresentation when levying the decision to buy the home
- The buyer suffered financial harm because of the misrepresentation
Termite damage can be fairly expensive depending on the extent of the damage to the property. If you are purchasing a home in Maryland, it is important to retain a reliable company to perform an inspection of the property.
Our Experienced Baltimore, MD Termite Damage Attorneys Can Help You File a Fraud Claim
If you or a family member purchased a home that was infested with termites, you should contact an experienced Baltimore termite damage attorney. At Whitney, LLP, we are dedicated to providing you with the unique legal representation that you deserve. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling various types of termite damage and termite inspection claims and we will use this experience to fight for you. To schedule a consultation, call us at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.