If I'm under contract for a new home and the builder misrepresented the lot that I purchased, do I have legal standing to sue?
Question Details: About 8 months ago when I was purchasing a lot I was tole that it was a flat rectangular lot. I then signed the contract and put down a $6000 deposit. At my ground breaking last month, I find out that there is a significant hill 25 feet tall and my property line is 16 feet up the hill, which has reduced the usuable flat backyard to about 19 feet from my back porch. Though the description of the lot was not included in the contract, they have since apologized over email and voicemail for the mistake but are only offering about a $1000 upgrade for this mistake. I am concerned about drainage they say there are swells along the house to push water to the street drains and upset that they have reduced the value of the lot I thought I was purchasing and feel very much like they need to add value back to the house for their mistake. Do I have legitimate grounds?
Contract law applies here and generally speaking, you agree to whatever is written in the contract once you sign it. Oral representations - parole evidence - is generally excluded in a suit. However, this could go in many directions. First, there was a misrepresentation and possibly fraud in the inducement to contract and leaving a lot description out of a contract can be material. Why, though, did you not insist on that and did your lawyer miss it? I think that you have a shot here of getting something back and I would be more concerned about the drainage on the property if it slopes back toward the house. Water can do a tremendous amount of damage. Perhaps instead of upgrades you can negotiate them grading the property and installing drainage lines. I would speak with your lawyer. Good luck.