Q: We purchased our house from an old lady who told us she was selling because she wants to live in a retirement community.
However, she lied to us. She apparently got tired of having extremely noisy neighbors from both sides of her house, and wanted to have a more peace and quiet.
Now we’re living in a house with heavy smoking and drinking neighbors on one side, and late night party lovers on the other side. We are already tired, and called police twice. I feel like the seller intentionally misinformed us in order to sell this house. Even her previous neighboring friend told us this was her plan all along.
What can we do? And how do we get unstuck from this house?
A: It’s unfortunate that your seller was not upfront with you on these problems. You should go back to the seller disclosure form to see if anything she marked down was factually incorrect.
You may also want to have a conversation with the agent who represented the home. It’s likely that the agent knew about the sellers and if so, may have had a legal obligation to pass that information along to you.
Then, please talk to a real estate attorney to see what, if any, legal options you have.
While most seller disclosure laws relate to real estate matters affecting the home that is being sold, it’s possible that seller disclosure laws in your state now encompass broader issues involving the ownership of a home.
State seller disclosure laws generally require a seller to tell a buyer about problems that affect the property being sold: a leaky roof, problems with the plumbing, a settling foundation, termite problems, leaky windows and other real estate issues. Your case may have to do with noise issues. If the property does not have proper sound insulation or was built improperly, that could be something that the seller should have disclosed to you.
Unfortunately, in some cases, issues that involve other properties or owners may not fall within the original intent of seller disclosure laws. If the home you are buying is near an airport or freight train tracks, the seller may not have to disclose to you that the noise may affect the home. Likewise, if the home is adjacent to a commercial or industrial park and there is noise from those areas, the neighbor may not have a duty to disclose that noise problem to you.
In your particular case, the noise issue is from within the building from noisy neighbors. Some might say that each person has a risk of living next to rude and noisy neighbors. In that case, municipal laws and local ordinances would apply to your problem and you would have to contact your local government officials to see if they can help you out.
Sept. 19, 2008.
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