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One week after closing on a home in The Woodlands, TX my…

Customer Question
One week after closing...

One week after closing on a home in The Woodlands, TX my next door neighbor informed me there has been a serious ongoing drainage problem in her back yard, my back yard and the lawn between the two homes. She had talked to the previous owner multiple times and he was supposedly going to help get it resolved. She believes the water is damaging her foundation and possibly mine. The water is coming from surface water run off from the lots behind ours as they're a higher elevation. Investigating, I've learned that due to the Texas Water Act the remedy for the drainage is the responsibility of the affected land owner. The Seller of my home checked NO on the Seller's Disclosure Notice for Improper Drainage and NO for Previous Flooding on the Property. Although, my neighbor has pictures of her backyard and his backyard partially under water after a big rain storm. In addition, multiple neighbors knew of the drainage problem and knew the Seller was very aware of it. He chose to sell the house, move to Arkansas and lie on the Disclosure Form. In addition to the drainage problem there are electrical issues he hid. The solution to the drainage issue will cost several thousand dollars. Can I sue and be compensated for resolving the drainage issue?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

I written an email to my real estate agent explaining the situation and asking him to contact the listing agent. I want the agents to try and negotiate a settlement out of court. I have not mailed the email yet.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a TX lawyer about this?

No

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 25 minutes by:
5/28/2018
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 2 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,117
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 2 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

The answer to your question is yes; if the seller knew or should have known, but failed to disclose and it caused you damages, you could sue.

Generally under the law, sellers of residential property are required to make certain disclosures to buyers. These disclosures generally fall into one of two categories: (1) physical defects in the features, fixtures or appliances of the residence; and (2) structural or site hazards, environmental hazards, or noncompliance with building codes and permits. For most residential contracts, the seller or their agent must provide a standard disclosure form to the seller with whatever defects the property is known to have. If a party misrepresents the condition of the property, then the buyer may be entitled to some damages.

For a buyer, their remedies generally include:

  1. Damages for breach of contract

  2. Specific performance (requiring the breaching party to remedy the error rather than pay money)

  3. Damages for fraud if seller/agent knowingly misrepresented the defects in the property

  4. Rescission of the purchase agreement

  5. Cancellation of the agreement

.There are a few options for the buyer. One of them is that the buyer may sue, they may demand performance informally, or they may just let it go. Regardless, depending on what the buyer wants to do, they have those options generally.

Because I value your input, I would like to know whether you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
No, this is less information than I found on Google. I'm canceling this transaction.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 2 months ago

Ok. Good luck.

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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.

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