Washington, DC asked in Real Estate Law for District of Columbia

Q: I would like to know if I have a legal case to sue the seller and her agent for misrepresentation.

I bought a house in April of this year. The owner’s disclosure paperwork did not include that there were some cracks on the living room floor or one of the walls. The home inspector did not see them because there was a rug and furniture covering the cracks and a big vase with flowers arrangements covering one of the walls where there was a linear crack. After I closed escrow and moved into the house, I hired a structural engineer to assess the problem and found out that the house has a serious foundation problem. I requested several estimates to fix it and the estimates were between $38,000 to $95,000. Recently, I found out that sellers must disclose foundation or any problems the property might have before close of escrow. Since the owner and her agent did not disclose the problem, I did not have the opportunity to either walk away or negotiate a lower price to be able to fix the problem.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: You may have both a latent defect and a misrepresentation cause of action if the defect was latent and the seller knew and lied in the disclosure. The case may involve attorneys fees and treble damages.

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