Claims against real estate agents

In a recent district court case¹, the fact that representations contradicted the contract did not require dismissal of buyers’ claims against real estate agents. The Kjellanders (“buyers”) purchased a home from the Abbotts (“sellers”) and, following the closing, found water damage, mold, and issues with the HVAC system that had not been disclosed before their purchase. The buyers sued the sellers, the seller’s real estate agents, and their own home inspector, arguing that they had misrepresented, concealed, and/or failed to disclose the defects with the home.

The trial court dismissed the nondisclosure claims against the real estate agents because they found that the allegations made against the agents contradicted the Contract of Residential Sale and Purchase between the buyers and agents in which the buyers explicitly stated that they would not depend on the agents for validation of the home and would instead rely on the representations of third parties other than the agents.

The buyers argued that the trial court erred in its ruling. Although the contract indicated that the buyers would not depend on the agents for validation of the home, the buyers still had a claim against the agents because the contract does not excuse the agents of misrepresentation or failure to disclose defects with the home.

The District Court reversed the order dismissing the buyers’ claims against the agents. The case was then sent back to the trial court for further proceedings, allowing the buyers to receive the right to prove their allegations.

[1] Kjellander V. Abbott, 199 So.3d 1129 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016)

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This is not intended to be legal advice for any specific situation and the reader should consult their attorney regarding their situation.