What are my rights as the buyer of a house regarding the seller’s non-disclosure of a broken cooling system?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights as the buyer of a house regarding the seller’s non-disclosure of a broken cooling system?

We bought a house about a year ago but with no home inspection. The sellers checked on the real property disclosure that they weren’t aware of material defects of the heating, CAU or ventilating systems (as of 5 months prior to our purchase; the end of the summer). However, the next summer when I went to use the CAU it didn’t cool. The repairman told me that the CAU compressor was burned up.

Asked on December 8, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

IF the seller was aware of the problem--and you believe that you could prove this--then you could sue them for fraud, or for making a material misrepresentation (basically, a lie) to induce you to go through with the purchase at the agreed upon price. To prove their knowledge may be difficult: assuming they don't admit to knowing or you don't find some "smoking gun" email or other document admitting it, then you would need to have some cooling system expert testify that in his/her expert opinion, the compressor was burned up during at least the seller's last summer there, so they reasonably must have kown of the problem. If you sue and win, you can recover the cost to repair or replace. But if you can't prove the seller's knowledge of the problem, they will not be liable.

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