Can a Buyer of Wisconsin Real Estate Sue a Seller for Misrepresenting the Property's Condition?
In Wisconsin, buyers of real estate who believe they have been misled or deceived by a seller can potentially pursue a misrepresentation claim. Misrepresentation claims may involve either fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation, both of which could result in legal liability for the seller.
Fraudulent misrepresentation occurs when a seller knowingly makes false statements about the property, intending for the buyer to rely on those statements, and causing the buyer to suffer damages as a result. Negligent misrepresentation, on the other hand, occurs when a seller makes false statements without exercising reasonable care to determine their accuracy, leading the buyer to suffer damages.
Section 100.18 of the Wisconsin Statutes addresses claims for misrepresentation in the sale of real estate, making it unlawful for any person to make false representations or use deceptive practices to induce another to enter into a contract for the purchase of real estate.
To successfully pursue a claim under Section 100.18, a buyer must generally establish the following elements:
The seller made a false representation or used a deceptive practice.
The misrepresentation or deceptive practice was made with the intent to induce the buyer to enter into the contract.
The buyer relied on the misrepresentation or deceptive practice.
The buyer suffered damages as a result of relying on the misrepresentation or deceptive practice.
If a buyer can establish these elements, they may be entitled to various forms of damages, including:
Compensatory damages: These damages are intended to compensate the buyer for the actual losses they suffered due to the seller's misrepresentation. This may include the cost of repairs, the difference in property value, and other related expenses.
Attorney's fees and costs: Under Section 100.18(11), the prevailing party in a lawsuit involving misrepresentation may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs. This means that if a buyer successfully pursues a claim, they could potentially recover their attorney's fees and litigation costs.
Please note that this information is for general purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. To get legal advice tailored to your specific situation, consult with a licensed attorney in Wisconsin. Misrepresentation claims can be complex, and it is essential to work with a knowledgeable real estate attorney who can help you navigate the process and protect your interests.