Atlanta, GA asked in Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: I am being sued for fraud due to a house I rebuilt flooding.

The house flooded one time during the renovation but was corrected and never flooded for 2.5 years in which we owned the house after the renovation was completed. However, the yard continued to flood. The house was an extensive rebuild. I disclosed the yard flooded due to no storm water drainage but did not specifically say the house had flooded during the renovation since the problem was corrected. The buyer says the house has flooded every year since she bought it, however, she has undone (actually, filled in) the correction ditch that took the water away from the house and reconfigured the front yard sloping the dirt toward the house aiming the water at the house. The entire area is only 15-20 ft above sea level and is an old development that is known for flooding. Am I responsible? My attorney says I should have told her about the flooding inside during the renovation. My Broker said I didn't have to explain about the flooding since the issue had been corrected.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Jane Kim
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  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Florida law requires sellers to disclose any known facts that materially affect the value of the property that are not readily observable to the buyer. This includes any prior flooding or water damage, even if it has been repaired. The disclosure must be made in writing, and the seller must complete a Residential Property Disclosure Form provided by the Florida Realtors Association.

Therefore, it depends what form you completed and what you said there, as well as whether this prior flood materially affected the value of the home. Given that the yard situation was altered since the sale, you could also argue that the conditions since the sale were materially changed, and you should not be responsible.

Good luck.

Barbara Billiot Stage agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

A: The good thing is you have a lawyer representing you in this lawsuit. The broker is not a lawyer and should not have advised you on this matter. Their interest is to make the sale, which creates a conflict when your interest is to make the sale without getting sued. Everyone should have a lawyer representing them if they are buying or selling real estate.

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