Material Non-Disclosure Question

Question: So me and girlfriend bought a condo almost 2 years ago. There was a washer dryer and hardwood floors in the condo. Both were not properly installed and go against the hoa rules. The seller did not disclose any of this to us, and the repairs to get these items approved will be costly. Can I go after the seller for not disclosing these items? Answer: That's a really good question. This kind of thing often comes up. A seller has a duty to disclose known material defects in the property during the sale. It has to be known. "Know" is a pretty high burden to prove. You'd need to know they installed it, basically. Material is also sometimes problematic. It is hard to know whether a $5,000.00 problem for a $400,000.00 home is truly material. The other things to keep in mind are: cost of pursuing (hiring an attorney, personal time) and the mediation/arbitration provision. If you make a demand to them and they refuse, the next step should be to mediate. Generally, by contract, if you don't agree to mediate, you lose your rights to attorney's fees as the prevailing party.

What Can I Do To Prepare For Litigation?

How to prepare your case for litigation.  There are a few best practices for litigation.  I recommend taking a log of events right after the event happens.  If you write down what happened, it may be admissible or it could help refresh your recollection.  Another thing to is CYA, or Cover Your Avenues.  When you have an agreement with someone or a conversation, you should follow that up with an e-mail or letter stating the essence of the conversation.  You should also consider consolidating your evidence and compiling a summary of events.  Think about witnesses or documents which prove your case.

How much will my case cost?

This is one of the most difficult questions because there are so many variables.  Lawsuits are expensive.  Some can resolve quickly.  Other controversies are long drawn out processes.  Going to trial generally costs over $80,000.00 in legal fees and costs.  About 2% of cases go to trial for various reasons.  Richards Law starts with a refundable retainer.

How much do you charge?

Generally, we charge $350.00/hour for John (J.R.) Richards and $175.00/hour for paralegal work.  The bills are done in increments of 1/10th of an hour.  We send out all bills electronically on a monthly basis.  Each bill is itemized by task.  We do not block bill.  Real estate sales are dealt with on a flat fee basis.  We generally charge $8,000.00 to list and sell a residential property on the MLS.  FSBO generally costs $6,000.00 as a flat fee, no commission.

Do You Represent Tenants?

No sorry, we do not generally represent tenants.  Those types of cases are referred out to reputable tenant attorneys.  The only exception is when a tenant has a viable case of ownership of the property by some sort of agreement, equitable ownership or constructive trust.  Richards Law represents tenants with viable ownership interests.