In MA can I sue my home inspector or realtor?

Additional Information:

I just closed on a home in the Greater Boston area.  The inspector stated and reported that the fuel source is natural gas.  My buyer’s Realtor stated the heating unit was natural gas.  I recently learned from the power company that there is no natural gas on the property and that the heating is 100% electrical. I relied on the home inspector and realtor for the details as I needed to move quickly.  I wouldn’t have purchased the property if I had known that it wasn’t natural gas enabled.    Can I sue the home inspector and or the realtor? Do I  need a professional malpractice attorney?

Attorney Answer:

Home inspection reports typically have a host of disclaimer language, typically on the first page.     It is unlikely that the disclaimer relieves the inspector from liability for failing to identify the proper heat source for the home, and thus it would appear that you have a viable claim against the inspector based on what you have described.  Inspectors are required to carry liability insurance, so you would likely be dealing with the inspector’s insurance company on any claim.    A claim against the broker would be much more challenging.   Brokers can only be held responsible for what they know.    So, for example, if the seller reported to the broker that the heating source was gas,  and simply passed along that information,  the broker would not be legally responsible for conveying false information.   You would have to establish that the broker had to have known by visual inspection of the home or the seller’s testimony that he/she told the broker there was electric heat.    If you can establish this then the broker could be liable for up to three times damages, together with attorney’s fees. 

Attorney Alan Fanger is a Massachusetts real estate litigation lawyer and professional malpractice attorney. He serves the entire Greater Boston and Boston metrowest region including Norfolk County, Suffolk County, Middlesex County and the communities of Arlington, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Canton, Concord, Dedham, Dover, Framingham, Lexington, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norwood, Quincy, Sherborn, Sudbury, Waltham, Wayland, Wellesley, and Weston, Massachusetts.

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