Disclosure Form SOL Doesn’t Bar Claims Against Agents

The Buyers acquired a home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois after having received a Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Form (“SRPD”) which indicated that the Sellers were not “aware of material defects in the walls or floors.” On or about October 22, 2012, a few months after the Buyers moved in, a painting contractor hired to paint the kitchen noticed an area of damaged gypsum wallboard on the western wall. He advised the Buyers that the damage appeared to have been caused by water. He repaired it, but around January 2013, a mushroom-like material began to protrude from the damaged area. Eventually, a further examination revealed extensive water damage which required in excess of $45,000.00 to remediate.

It wasn’t until two and one-half years later that the Buyers filed a lawsuit against the Sellers and the Seller’s Agent alleging breach of contract, consumer fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation. The Court dismissed the lawsuit pursuant to a motion filed by the Defendants who argued that since the claims were based upon a purported misrepresentation contained in the SRPD, the lawsuit had to be dismissed because a one year statute of limitations applied to such misrepresentations.
The Appellate Court found that the Sellers’ misrepresentation was actionable under the common-law theories (breach of contract, consumer fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, or negligent misrepresentation) despite the fact that it was “manifested in the false Disclosure Report. Blevins v. Marcheschi, 101 N.E.3d 807421 Ill.Dec. 825 (2018).

Nevada has a similar statute of limitations (SOL) pertaining to claims relating to misrepresentations in the SRPD. NRS 113.150 provides that an action for such violations must be commenced no later than one year after the purchaser discovers or reasonably should have discovered the defect or two years after the conveyance of the property, which ever occurs later.

PRACTICE POINTER: Agents should not assume that the one year statute of limitation (SOL) will preclude an assertion of common law claims against them. “Common law claims” are those that are not based upon a violation of a statute. Lawsuits against agents routinely include statutory claims (based upon violations of NRS 645.252) and common law claims (e.g. negligence). Neither of these claims will be barred by the one year statute of limitations (SOL) contains in NRS 113.150.

For more than 30 years, Attorney Lee A. Drizin has practiced in the areas of estate planning, probate, trusts, guardianship and real estate matters representing clients throughout the state of Nevada.

Drizin Law is providing this information for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion as to any specific facts or circumstances. This information is based on general principles of Nevada law at the time it was created and you should be aware laws frequently change. Moreover, the laws affecting you may differ depending on the circumstances. You should consult with a qualified attorney in your own state or jurisdiction concerning your particular situation. Review of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.