Who is legally liable if my realtor did not disclose the fact that my home was is in a high-risk flood area and what can be done about it?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Who is legally liable if my realtor did not disclose the fact that my home was is in a high-risk flood area and what can be done about it?

Asked on October 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The seller is likely potentially liable, since this is a disclosure that he/she would be required to make, provided that he/she was aware of this fact which is likely, but not guaranteed it is a material disclosure, or one which could reasonably affect your decision to buy and/or price, and the seller may not withhold this information if he/she knew it. You can show that the seller "knew" it by showing that under the facts--e.g. what they would have received from their town or insurer--that any reasonable seller in his/her shoes reasonably must have known.
The realtor would be liable only if the seller had told him/her about the flood zone and despite knowing of this fact, did not tell you it is important enough that if a realtor knew, he/she would have to tell a prospoective buyer. The realtor however does not have any duty to investigate this or would have sources for it other than what the seller provided, and is entitled to rely on what the seller tells him/her that's why, to hold the realtor liable, you'd have to show that the seller actually told him/her the truth but knowing it, the realtor lied or hid the truth.
As to what can be done you may be able to void the sale for fraud--they get home back, you get money back--though this can be difficult to do in home sale contexts, since the transaction is so large and complex, and the seller may not have the money available anymore to return. If they paid off a mortgage, the bank, which is an innocent third party to the transaction, would not have to return the money, for example.
Or you could seek compensation from the seller such as the difference in price between what you did pay and what this home would be worth in a flood zone presumably substantially less.
Given that there is likely a great deal of money at stake, you are advised to consult with an attorney about the situation and your options.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption