Buying a new home is one of the most exciting things that you and your family may ever do.
Of course, when buying a home, there are the normal risks – that you may lose your job and will be unable to repay your mortgage, that the market won’t be strong when you’re ready to sell, etc.
However, before you sign on the dotted line, you’ve likely taken a close look at the property, and have a fair idea of any day-to-day issues or immediate repairs that may be required. Which is why when an undisclosed and serious issue presents itself, you may feel wronged and anxious about your options.
Consider the following about your legal rights if you bought a house with problems not disclosed, suing a seller for non-disclosure, and how our real estate disputes lawyer can help.
Texas Disclosure Laws – What Does a Property Owner Have to Disclose?
If you have bought a house with problems not disclosed, the first thing that you should do is familiarize yourself with Texas disclosure laws; this will help you to understand whether or not the seller breached the duty owed to you.
The laws regarding a seller’s disclosure obligations are found in Texas Property Code Section 5.08, and require that a seller provide a buyer with written notice of any “material defects” in/on the property. Typically, this requires that sellers disclose structural or cosmetic defects, such as a termite infestation or the presence of mold. Note that sellers are only required to disclose defects that are known to them; if the seller did not know of a defect at the time of the sale, they cannot be held liable for the defect.
Also of interest is the fact that property owners in Texas are not required to disclose any deaths that have occurred on the property due to natural causes, accidents that were unrelated to the condition of the property, or suicide. However, a property owner is required to disclose any knowledge of murder that occurred on the property, as well as deaths that occurred as a result of a condition of the property (even if the condition has since been remedied).
Can I Sue a Seller for Non-Disclosure?
Moving into a new home only to discover an expensive defect or problem with the property can be frustrating. If you believe that the seller lied or intentionally concealed a defect, you may have a cause of action. In order to hold the seller liable, you’ll need to prove that the defect existed before you purchased the home, that you had no knowledge of the defect, and that the seller knew of the defect and yet failed to disclose it. Of course, you will also need to show that you have incurred financial losses as a direct result.
In addition to filing a lawsuit against the seller, you may also have a cause of action against the seller’s realtor (if they were involved in the non-disclosure) or the home inspector that you hired to conduct an inspection of the property prior to purchase.
Keep in mind that even if the seller failed to disclose something, it can be difficult to hold them liable for damages if there is evidence that you did not do due diligence in discovering the defect. For example, if you failed to hire a home inspector prior to purchase and there is not strong evidence that a seller intentionally failed to disclose a defect, you may not be able to hold the seller liable.
How Our Lawyer Can Help When You’re Suing a Seller for Non-Disclosure
Buying a house with undisclosed problems can be frustrating, to say the very least. If you believe that the seller knew of the defect and failed to disclose it, or actively lied about the defect, you may have a claim.
Our experienced real estate dispute lawyer at the office of Khirallah PLLC can help you to gather the evidence necessary to establish the elements listed above, understand the remedies available to you, and negotiate a resolution. If your case requires litigation, Khirallah PLLC will also be prepared to take your case to court.
Call Khirallah PLLC Today for a Consultation
Texas’ disclosure laws can be confusing to navigate on one’s own. If you think that you have a suit for non-disclosure against a seller of property in our state, please call our law firm today for a consultation and more information about your legal options. Our lawyer will aggressively advocate for you and protect your best interests.