When home sellers lie and fail to disclose information on Maryland real estate disclosure/disclaimer forms, buyers may have legal rights to recover compensation for resulting damages. A home seller who has given you a disclosure or disclaimer statement is bound by what it contains. If there is anything false in the statement, the seller could pay a heavy legal price.
Whitney, LLP’s real estate lawyers help home buyers bring claims and file lawsuits against dishonest and negligent home sellers, house flippers, real estate agents and termite inspection companies across Maryland. Our attorneys recover compensation for buyers to repair hidden damage and defects and for emotional distress. We offer free consultations.
If you need a real estate lawyer near me to help with hidden damage, failure to disclose defects, negligence or fraud in the purchase of a house, call us at 410 583 8000 or use our Online Quick Contact Form.
Disclosures Exist to Protect Buyers from Hidden Damage
In Maryland, the legal obligation for a property disclosure or disclaimer document exists for a reason. It is public policy that you be fully informed before you make the decision to purchase a home. Any defects could affect your decision whether to buy the home and how much to pay for it. Accordingly, when the seller tells lies, you suffer real damages as the buyer because you are stuck with an unanticipated repair bill.
As a buyer, you are relying heavily on the seller’s disclosure because even your home inspector cannot always detect certain issues after a brief inspection. The seller in the best position to know what is wrong with their home. When they lie, you have grounds for a lawsuit against the seller. Any kind of misrepresentation or even failure to disclose defects in the home can lead to financial compensation.
Had the seller disclosed some defects, you might not have bought the home. For example, if there was major damage to the foundation of the home, this is something that likely would have caused you to look elsewhere. Some sellers will flat-out lie so that they can sell the home to an unsuspecting buyer and get it off their hands at a higher price than an informed seller would pay. If this happened, you have legal rights.
Home Buyers Can Sue the Seller for Damages
There are two possible remedies that you would be seeking in a lawsuit against the seller for lying about hidden defects. The first would be a lawsuit for compensation for the damages that you incurred. The second type of lawsuit could lead to a rescission of the home sale. Normally, lawsuits result in monetary compensation, but if the lying and the home damage were bad enough, and the buyer requested it, a court could undo the whole transaction through that form of equitable relief.
Another possibility when the seller has lied is a fraud lawsuit. It is not always easy to prove fraud because you would need to show that the seller lied with intent. If you are successful, this may increase your financial compensation because you might even be awarded punitive damages. Whitney, LLP has been successful in bringing fraud claims in real estate cases.
Sometimes, proving that the seller lied on the disclosure forms may take significant effort. Whether someone is lying is not always clear-cut. This is where you need an experienced real estate lawyer on your side. Your attorney can help gather the facts and evidence to show a court that the seller did in fact lie about its property.
You would need to show that the seller knew or should have known that what they were listing on the disclosure form was false. You could still file a negligence lawsuit for the failure to disclose if you cannot prove intent to deceive you as the buyer, but the defect still should have been disclosed.
Real Estate Attorneys for Seller’s Failure to Disclose Defects
If you were the victim of a dishonest seller, real estate agent or WDI/termite inspection company in Maryland, contact Whitney, LLP’s real estate lawyers at 410 583 8000, or use our Online Quick Contact Form, for your free consultation.
We represent homebuyers throughout Maryland, including Baltimore, Columbia, Germantown, Silver Spring, Waldorf, Frederick, Ellicott City, Glen Burnie, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Bethesda, Dundalk, Towson, Bowie, Aspen Hill and Wheaton.