Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
You need to contact your Title Insurance company. This was the company that insured you against things just as these when you bought the house. You should have been given a copy of your Title at closing or your real estate agent or the attorney who did your closing when you bought the house should have these. You need to contact the Title Insurance company and bring it up with them as it is their responsibility to pay for things like this if they indeed insured for it (and it is customary to do so unless something strange happened for your closing). This is really the proper recourse for you. Contacting the previous owners isn't really going to help a lot since the Title Insurance company has to do this and you pay for this at closing for them to do this.
If you find out you don't have Title Insurance or they don't insure against it, I would sue your attorney or real estate agent because it is their responsibility to let you know about things like this but I think you probably do have Title Insurance and they need to take care of this.
If you did not get Title Insurance when you bought your house, you will not be able to get Title Insurance now. However, if you had an attorney do your closing, there is a very good chance that you received Title Insurance as it is very rare when Title Insurance is not obtained when buying a house.
If you do want to try to sue the seller or the attorney or agent that helped you buy your house, go to your local courthouse or do a google search for it and go to the Small Claims Division. Ask them about the dollar limit that you can sue for and then they will show you the forms that you will need to fill out to file a Complaint and to Serve whoever you are trying to sue. Then you will need to pick a hearing date. Once the hearing date is set and you have sent notice to the people you are suing, they will have a chance to respond and then there will probably be a date where both of you can come back and let the Judge know if you have settled the dispute. If not, then the Judge will set a trial date. The clerks at the courthouse should be very helpful at letting you know exactly what forms you need to fill out. I would encourage you to obtain an attorney, possibly one that works for free or a student at a law school in your area, to take your case. Many times, law school clinics or law clinics will help you for free. I would take a phone book and just look for some of these attorneys as this will increase your chance of getting something back.
Educator, Esq: Follow up question: Is the following
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).