Many sellers think they can hide defects they know about to get a higher price for their properties. These tricky sellers frequently include an "as is" clause in the agreement which states that buyer purchases the property "as is" and accepts all defects with the property. Buyers who later discover defects incorrectly think they have no recourse since they purchased the property "as is" per seller's savvy inclusion of the "as is" clause. Failure to disclose material defects is a violation of Civil Code § 1102 et. seq. and can be the basis for a legal claim for fraud.
Other times the seller might partially disclose the defect just enough, but not fully, so as to trick the buyer into thinking they have no recourse. Other times sellers will cover up the defect with stucco, landscaping, or fixtures so that the defect won't be discovered until years later and again the buyer then thinks incorrectly too much time has passed and nothing can be done.
Either way the result is the same, the buyer has been scammed into buying a house worth less than they paid because they weren't treated fairly and were lied to. Buyers now have to incur expensive repairs to cure the problem through no fault of their own. However, what buyers don't know is that numerous code provisions and court cases protect them and an expert attorney can help them sue the seller and hold them liable even years later. We are experts in these types of cases and if you have been scammed by a seller who didn't disclose, contact us immediately to protect your rights before it is too late - once you know about it, the statute of limitations starts running and you need to act.
California Civil Code Section 1102, 1103, et. seq. and others, require sellers to affirmatively and fully disclose all material defects they know about related to the property even if the property was sold "as is." Frequently, the sellers agent or broker was in on the scam and is also liable, an expert in real estate law can detect this.
We are talking about things like:
- Hidden Water Damage
- Black Mold
- Unpermitted bathrooms, bedrooms, and improvements
- Structural defects
- Lead pipes
- Termite infestations and structural damage caused by termites
- Bad roofing
- Electrical issues
- Plumbing issues
- Heating/cooling issues
- No building approvals and occupancy issues.
If you think you have been the victim of this type of Fraud and Fraud by Concealment, contact us immediately for a free consultation and case assessment.
Author: Christopher M. Brainard, Esq., Attorney and Real Estate Broker