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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11876
Experience:  I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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My husband and I bought a home in April. Once we moved in,

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My husband and I bought a home in April. Once we moved in, we sent in a request to the assocoation to put a fence up in our backyard. We waited and waited and waited to hear a "GO AHEAD" on the fence. Then, 6 weeks later, we recieve a phone call from the association saying that our sod is on violaiton and has to be replaced before they will approve the fence. WHAT? This was a HUGE surprise to us. When did our sod go into violation and why? They said it has been in violation for a while now and that it was on our closing documents on our approval letter from the association. Well, this was not disclosed to us nor did we sign anything acknowledging such said violation. We called our realtor and asked if she was told anything or remembers anything about this and she said absolutley not. She said she never even recieved the approval letter from the association prior to closing day because they kept saying they lost our application; yet they cashed our application check. It (the approval letter) was supposed to be sent to me, my realtor, the sellers realtor, and the title company that was doing the closing all prior to closing. No one other that the closing company received the approval letter and they didn't even get it until day of closing. Come to find out, the investment company that bought this home in the September prior was very aware of this violation starting in January. The association has all there notes on the conversations between the prior owner and themselves expalining the violationa nd the owner saying they would take care of it. None of this information was on the listing when we went to see the home. The sellers listing agent said he was not aware of any of this either. So, we don't know who is at fault. We contacted the title company thinking that what we paid title insurance for, but they said that is only to guarantee a free and clear title. However, they felt bad for us and the pickle we are in and sent us $500 towards helping us to buy the sod. Problem is, that is not nearly enough to pay for the sod, installation, and prep work. More like $1300 to about $2000. So, is the seller at fault for not disclosing the current violation on the listing, or the association for not communicating prior to closing or having a document to sign stating we understand this violation, or the title company for not going over the approval. We do not have the money to pay for the sod and in about 2 weeks, we are going to be fined by the association for $100 per day it is not rectified. Who is responsible?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to assist you with your question,

 

 

I am sorry to hear about the problem you are facing. The title company was very nice in offering $500 because they do not have any responsibility in this situation. The responsible parties and the ones who should pay to have the sod corrected and the violation removed is the seller and the seller's real estate agent who listed the property for sale.

 

The seller knew of the violation and should have disclosed it to you as the purchaser and to his real estate agent. However, even if the seller did not disclose it to his real estate agent, the real estate agent has a duty to research the property he is listing for sale and to discover all violations. This obligation is imposed on all listing agents and they cannot use the excuse that the seller did not inform them because they have an affirmative duty to gain full knowledge of all aspects of the property they are listing for sale.

 

You will have to correct the problem and then sue the seller and the seller's agent for reimbursement. Because you have a duty to mitigate (lessen) your damages, you cannot sue the seller and the real estate agent and wait for them to pay you before correcting the violation because you will not be able to collect the $100 per day penalty if you just let it accumulate,

 

 

I realize that this is not the exact Answer you were hoping for and it would have given me great pleasure to give you the Answer you wanted to hear, but I have an ethical obligation to you to give you only correct Answers and information, so I am respectfully XXXXX XXXXX you not hold the law applicable to your situation against me,

____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

 

 

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Andrea for your detailed and very quick response. However, I noticed that you practice law in New York and Pennsylvania. Does this advice also pertain exclusively to Florida. I need to be sure to take the correct party to small claims court in this state

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Alicia,

 

The Answer I gave you is under Florida law. And, before starting my own practice, I was Assistant General Counsel to one of the major title companies on the East Coast whose home office is in Florida. :)

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

 

ANDREA

 

 

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok, thank you so very much for the help. I do truly appreciate it. So, should I take the listing agent or the seller to small claims court and will I stand a chance to retreive back the cost to replace said sod? Should I let them know what I am planning to do before doing it to see if they choose to settle with me without incurring court costs or just file the claim?

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

They are both liable, with the owner having priXXXXX XXXXXability. You do not have to tell them that you are filing a lawsuit, but you should write to both and demand that they pay the cost because they had a legal obligation to disclose this violation. You can tell them that you prefer resolving the problem amicably, but in order to do so, their active cooperation is required, but if they do not meet their legal liability, they will leave you no alternative but to look to the Court to protect your property rights. If they do not respond favorably, then you can file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court,

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

 

Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11876
Experience: I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.
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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq.
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1168 Satisfied Customers
I have practiced law for 25 yrs. with an emphasis on real estate, business law, criminal defense and family law.