How enforcable is lying on the disclosure statement after the house is sold?

Asked by David, 15101 Sun Sep 5, 2010

On the disclosure statement the sellers stated that they DID NOT build the deck on the house. Half way through the purchasing period I asked for the name of the contractor. They waited until the day before closing to stated that his Dad did. After we closed I found evidence (the deck permit) stating that the seller was in fact the builder, as well as verbal statements from neighbors. What would be the next step in getting the previous owner to repair the saftey issue with the deck that he built and subsequently lied about doing so?
Thanks for any advice

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Blair W. Coh…, Agent, Monroeville, PA
Sun Sep 5, 2010
This being a legal question it should be posed to an attorney. That said I will give an opinion drawing on my 33 years of real estate sales experience which is not to be construed as legal advice or a substitute for for the advice of an attorney. Lying on a disclosure statement is probably fraud and probably a violation of the disclosure law in Pennsylvania. You may want contact the Seller via the agents to try to work things out more quickly. If that does not work you may want to consider discussing further options such as litigation with an attorney. But keep in mind that even with what you feel is credible evidence and witnesses (who may not want to get involved) the court may still not find in your favor. And it could take months and even years to obtain a resolution. If you do win what will it cost and how much will win. In other words does the ends justify the means. You should obtain bids from qualified professionals to ascertainthe cost of needed repairs/modifications and the cost of litigation. Check your agreement of sale to see if there is a mediation clause. If you used a recent version Pennsylvania Association Of Realtors agreement of sale there sould be one and it could be a less expensive way to work things out. If you cannot obtain reasonable satisfaction and wish to consider other legal options you should consult a good real estate litigation attorney.
1 vote
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sun Sep 5, 2010
You would have to prove that their statement lead to some sort of damages to you. Your best bet is to meet with an attorney, teh first meeting is usually at no charge, but check first, and get an opinion if you have a suit for any sort of damages.

Good luck working things out
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Sep 5, 2010
Hmmm. Have you tried asking them?
0 votes
Nancy Theys, Agent, Wexford, PA
Sun Sep 5, 2010
I would tend to ask the same questions as Doug. If you had a home inspection, and if the home inspection showed that there were safety issues involving the deck, then that would have been the time to refute what was disclosed. Your only avenue, unfortunately, is to check with a lawyer, and see where you stand.
0 votes
Doug Rees, Agent, Moon Township, PA
Sun Sep 5, 2010
Hello David, did you have a Home Inspection? And if so did the Home Inspector mention any safety issues with the deck?

Doug Rees
Century 21 Frank Stefura Realtors
0 votes
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