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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 101939
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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My girlfriend and I bought a multi family home. We started

Customer Question

My girlfriend and I bought a multi family home. We started doing a remodel and are now getting hit with zoning fees because it wasn't a legal triplex. There were no disclosures about this and our own real estate agent turned out to be very shady. What can we do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts not participate in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature.
I am sorry to hear about this situation.
Unless the buyer specifically failed to disclose the zoning issue on their disclosure report, then this is not actionable. One has to go back and check the disclosure statement. Zoning violations, nonconforming uses, violations of "setback" requirements, and other zoning issues must be generally disclosed.
IF THE SELLER SPECIFICALLY FAILED to disclose zoning on the disclosure form, this may be a case for fraud. The necessary elements of fraud are: (1) misrepresentation (false representation, concealment, or nondisclosure); (2) knowledge of falsity (scienter); (3) intent to defraud (i.e., to induce reliance); (4) justifiable reliance; and (5) resulting damage. Seeger v. Odell (1941) 18 Cal.2d 409, 414 [115 P.2d 977, 136 A.L.R. 1291].
While this still means that the new owner is liable for any zoning fees, at lease the seller may be sought to indemnify and pay those fees if the court agrees that they did not disclose when they should have.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was a bank owned property by fanny mae
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
The same applies whether the seller was an individual or a bank. One has to go back and check the disclosure statement. The bank may have failed to disclose this issue. If so, they may be held liable.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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