Q: If a home seller doesn't disclose something on seller's disclosure (no air in master bedroom) how do we prove they knew
We purchased a home last year and found out there is no air flow to the master bedroom. We had the vents scoped and according to two companies the duct work goes into wall so was never connected. She lived there for 15 years and didn't disclose it on seller's disclosure. Originally she said she would cover cost of fixing it but now said no and is getting a lawyer. What is the burden of proof on seller's disclosure? Do we have to prove she actually knew or that a reasonable person should have known? According to both experts that came out she should have known. We have to use electric blankets to keep warm in the room.
A: Typically, the rule is buyer beware. Most real estate purchase contracts have an inspection period where you are expected to do your own investigation. That said, you may still have a claim for fraud. You have to show a material disclosure (e.g. that she actually made an important claim about the condition of the property), that it was false, and she knew it was false. There are all sorts of ways to demonstrate that she knew it was false, and evidence that it was a condition that was obvious or deliberately concealed certainly helps. She may have made other statements to realtors or others that conflict with her disclosure to you. You can also show it through her testimony. Either way, to pursue your claims you'll probably need to contact your own attorney, or if the claim is for less than $10,000, file a claim in small claims court. Good luck.
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