Is my home inspector liable?
UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022
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Is my home inspector liable?
I bought a home 2.5 months ago. We have since noticed an issue with our floor and after going under the house we found a huge problem with our foundation. The home inspection we had done before purchasing did not mention anything of the sorts and said no foundation problems. The inspector admitted to us that he did not go under the house or send his robot under the house. We got an estimate to fix everything and the cost to repair the damage is $10,000. Can our inspector be held liable for not going under our house and inspecting the foundation?
Asked on October 2, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana
S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
The home inspector is liable for negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable home inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm). Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for negligence against the home inspector) would be the foreseeable cost of repairs because you would not have bought the house had you known of the condition of the foundation.
If the seller knew and did not disclose the foundation issue, the seller is liable for fraud. Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment.
In other words, you would not have bought the house had you known of the condition of the foundation.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit for fraud against the seller) would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property regardless of the fact that actual loss suffered might have been less.
Out of pocket determination of damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and actual value of the property acquired.
You would file one lawsuit naming the seller and inspector as defendants. Fraud and negligence are separate causes of action (claims) in the lawsuit.
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