What are our rights if the previous owners of my home failed to disclose water damage that resulted in mold growth in the living room of our house?

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What are our rights if the previous owners of my home failed to disclose water damage that resulted in mold growth in the living room of our house?

We had an inspection done that did not discover it, however we suspect that the previous owners had covered up the evidence of the damage. We purchased the home 2 1/2 years ago. We then performed repairs to the structure of the home and the exterior door, as well as treating the affected area for mold 9 months later. At that time, we also discovered that another exterior door was leaking water as well. What legal recourse? Do we have to reclaim the depreciated value of our home, as well as the cost to repair the damage from the previous home owners?

Asked on July 9, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud.

Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation 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.

Fraud also applies to nondisclosure of a material fact.

In other words, you would not have purchased the house had you known about the mold and/or water leak.

Your damages (monetary compensation) in your lawsuit for fraud would be either the benefit of the bargain or out of pocket.

Benefit of the bargain means the defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property purchased regardless of the fact that the actual loss suffered might have been less.

Out of pocket recovery for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.


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