When purchasing a home, buyers must always be aware of sellers and home inspection companies that attempt to mislead a buyer or conceal the truth. There are various types of home inspection fraud that is perpetrated against an unknowing buyer. Discovering a defect with your property after closing can result in large expenses necessary to correct it. If you or a family member was a victim of home inspection fraud, you should consult with an experienced Maryland fraudulent inspection lawyer.
Whitney, LLP is a legal firm that fights tirelessly to pursue justice for clients that are deceived by unethical home sellers and inspection companies. Our termite damage lawyers possess extensive experience handling many types of home inspection cases that involve fraud, and we will utilize this experience to represent you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.
What is Home Inspection Fraud?
Home inspection fraud can encompass a wide range of unethical and illegal actions by a home seller or an inspection company. Inspection fraud typically occurs because the seller wants to hide a serious issue with the house they are selling to avoid the property losing value or to avoid repairing the issue.
A home inspection is an investigation of the condition of a property that is usually performed when the house is being prepared to be sold. An inspection is typically performed by a trained inspector from an engineering or construction company that is skilled in identifying defects in a home. For example, if there is an issue with the plumbing system or a certain area of the home contains asbestos, a thorough inspection should reveal these problems.
A seller can be liable for home inspection fraud when they conceal a material defect from a potential buyer. A material defect is a serious issue with a home that may pose a risk to the homeowner’s health or safety, or that may require extensive repairs to correct. An example of a material defect is a termite infestation that has spread to various areas of the house.
If a seller conceals the existence of termite damage from a buyer, this will violate Maryland’s real estate disclosure laws. While Maryland permits a seller to sell their property “as is,” the seller must still reveal the presence of a material defect they know about or reasonably should have discovered. There are various signs that termites have taken root in a home and a valid inspection would prove that.
A seller can commit home inspection fraud in a variety of ways. For example, they can deceive a buyer into believing that they already had an inspection performed, so the buyer does not perform their own inspection. Another method for committing inspection fraud is by hiring an unethical inspection company that the seller knows will offer a solid review of the home despite the actual condition of the home. The seller may also use Maryland’s Residential Property Disclosure Statement to make false assertions regarding the property’s condition. This document asks intricate questions regarding the condition of the home and is typically submitted to a buyer if the seller does not opt to use a disclaimer statement.
To learn more about home inspection fraud, you should speak with an experienced Maryland home inspection attorney.
When to File a Lawsuit for Fraud Against a Home Seller
If a home seller intentionally withheld information to coax you into purchasing their property, they can be held liable for fraud. To prevail in a lawsuit for fraud against a property seller, you must prove the following elements:
- The seller intentionally or recklessly made a false representation to the buyer regarding a material fact
- The seller intended to defraud the buyer when they made the false representation
- The buyer relied on the seller’s fraudulent representation when purchasing the home
- The buyer suffered economic damages and other losses due to the seller’s false representation
It is also important to note that the inspection company may also be liable for fraud depending on their role in the inspection fraud. For example, if the inspection company purposely overlooked a material defect to provide the seller with a favorable report, they have also committed fraud.
Our Maryland Inspection Fraud Attorneys are Ready to Represent You
If you or a family member was deceived by a seller when purchasing a home, you should contact an experienced Maryland inspection fraud attorney. At Whitney, LLP we understand the burden of dealing with a property that requires extensive work due to the false representations of a seller. Our attorneys can help you build a claim against a seller that withheld the existence of a property defect. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.