Can You Sue Your New Jersey Real Estate Broker or Agent?
Yes, you can sue a New Jersey real estate agent or broker, and the Consumer Fraud Act (the Act) applies to both individuals. Real estate fraud can affect property buyers and sellers and leave them financially ruined in some of the more serious cases. Of course, all real estate buyers and sellers expect their agents and brokers to be honest with respect to the nature and extent of the property being purchased. However, as in all businesses, there are always a few bad actors who cannot and should not be relied upon.
Types of Situations That May Lead You to Sue Your New Jersey Real Estate Agent or Broker
So, what are some examples of situations that may result in you suing your New Jersey real estate agent or broker? Consider the following:
The Agent Did Not Advise of Defects or Other Property Issues
Clients who find out about defects after signing their real estate documents will typically blame their real estate agent. To be clear: All damage (no matter how large or small), as well as all defects on the property, must be disclosed. Issues related to construction, leaks and cracks are all examples of problems that must be discussed and noted. If this is your situation, our team is ready to help. When a client sues an agent for failing to disclose issues and/or defects, they must demonstrate that the agent knew or should have known of the defect and/or issue and failed to disclose it.
The Agent Failed to Recommend an Inspection
Unfortunately, some real estate agents do not advise their clients to get a property inspection. Property buyers trust agents for their experience, expertise and guidance throughout the real estate process. However, there are times when a third-party opinion is necessary — and buying a piece of property is one such time. A general property inspection, at minimum, should be recommended; however, it is important to at least inspect the property’s roof, septic system, chimney (if there is one) and pool (if there is one).
The Agent or Broker Provided Legal Advice
We know all too well that those who are buying or selling property want their real estate agent and/or broker to be able to answer all questions asked. Likewise, most brokers and agents want to be responsive and helpful to their clients. However, it is illegal for a New Jersey real estate agent to offer legal (and tax) advice. Agents and brokers who provide their clients with inaccurate advice can face numerous consequences–namely a lawsuit.
You Sustained an Injury During a Property Tour
If you are hurt during a property tour in New Jersey, your agent may be found legally responsible for your injuries, and accordingly, he or she will be responsible for compensating you for any costs related to the incident. Any agent who is proceeding to show a property needs to ensure that the property is safe for viewing. That means picking up debris that may exist or even shoveling snow or ensuring that it’s melted before doing a showing.
The Agent Misled You
Our team knows that the real estate market is very competitive, so all agents and brokers tend to work especially hard to make their property stand out from the masses. Some are even tempted to “oversell” some of the features or the overall condition of the house or property. However, such deception can end horribly and be quite costly for all involved in the long run.
If you believe you were misled in any way about the property you purchased, we are here to help you with your case. Agents should always be truthful when making claims about the property and there should be no room for misinterpretation.
The Agent Failed to Keep Your Data Secure
Hackers are chomping at the bit to get any and everybody’s financial and personal information these days. That being the case, agents must be diligent in keeping their clients’ personal and financial information as safe and secure as possible. If a hacker gets your information due to your agent’s failure to secure it, they may be subjected to legal ramifications.
Things to Consider Prior to Suing Your Broker and/or Agent
Based on what we’ve discussed above, below are four basic questions you can ask yourself before deciding whether you should sue your agent and/or broker:
- Did your real estate agent or broker make a false affirmative statement of fact?
- Did your real estate agent or broker leave out a material fact?
- Did your real estate agent or broker tell you something that was deceptive, false or otherwise had the ability to mislead you?
- Did your real estate agent or broker breach their contract?
Under New Jersey law, consumers have various rights when dealing with real estate agents and brokers. If you have a question or concern about your specific situation, you are encouraged to contact a New Jersey real estate fraud and consumer fraud attorney at our office today.
What are Material Facts in the Context of Real Estate?
Real estate agents and brokers may make certain statements when discussing the property at issue. Below are some examples of what may be said in relation to the property being sold.
- The property was tested for mold, and the test came back negative.
- There has never been any damage or water leaks to the property.
- No improvements have been made to the property.
- There are no problems at all with the property.
- The property is in a specific school district when it’s not.
These are examples of material facts upon which real estate buyers in New Jersey might rely. While buyers should make an effort to personally confirm that such statements are accurate, the law does not require them to make such confirmations.
Know Your Rights Under New Jersey Law
If you have relied on statements like those noted above and it turns out that what you were told was false or untrue, you may have a claim. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney who is ready to help you get the justice you deserve. Conveniently located in Cranford, our New Jersey law firm serves clients throughout the state, including Elizabeth and Newark.