South Jersey Real Estate Litigation Lawyers
South Jersey Lawyers Represent Clients in Consumer Fraud Act Involving Real Estate Transactions in Burlington County, Camden County & Mercer County, NJ
Buying a home is often the most significant transaction a consumer will enter into during their lifetime—and those who profit from them can be held responsible for their unlawful conduct. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act protects consumers from deceptive and fraudulent practices throughout the State. Real estate transactions are specifically subject to the Act’s extraordinary power.
Elements of a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Claim
The Consumer Fraud Act was designed to protect consumers from deception, fraud and other unconscionable or misleading commercial practices including those used in connection with the sale of real estate. The Consumer Fraud Act has been applied to:
- Real estate developers a/k/a “Flippers”,
- Real estate brokers,
- Real estate agents,
- Home inspectors,
- Contractors who perform home improvements.
For example, a real estate developer may be held liable under the Consumer Fraud Act for failing to disclose a material defect that the buyer could not have reasonably discovered. Real estate agents and their brokers can be held accountable for unintentional yet misleading statements or omitting important known facts.
The Consumer Fraud Act also provides protection against false or misleading advertising about available real estate. Home improvement contractors which run afoul of regulatory laws are considered to have committed a per se violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. One common example is a failure to obtain required permits.
South Jersey Lawyers Advocate to Protect Clients Rights in Cases Involving Consumer Fraud Act Claims
Individuals, corporations and businesses are all responsible when a Consumer Fraud Act violation is established. Victims who prove a claim under the Consumer Fraud Act in New Jersey are entitled to be compensated for the harm suffered. Such compensation may include:
- Economic losses caused by deceptive behavior,
- Attorneys’ fees and costs,
- Injunctive relief to prevent further harm.
Successful plaintiffs might also recover “treble damages”—meaning that the compensatory portion of an award will be tripled in order to punish the wrongdoer.
Compensation under the Consumer Fraud Act is generally limited to economic losses (meaning that compensation for subjective harm, like pain and suffering or emotional distress, is usually unavailable). However, sometimes damages take the form of an illness (for example, exposure to mold).
While these damages are available under the Consumer Fraud Act, establishing the right to compensation is rarely easy. Our experienced lawyers are here to help with every aspect of your South Jersey case, including:
- Investigating all potentially responsible parties,
- Gathering the evidence necessary to pursue your rights,
- Evaluating and advising about the best strategy for you which often involves,
- Seeking restitution without going to court.
Consumers only have a limited amount of time from the date the real estate transaction occurred in which to pursue a claim under the Consumer Fraud Act. In addition, sometimes a homeowner is required to inform potential claimants before repairs are performed. Your rights could be limited or lost if you don’t. If you have concerns about a real estate transaction and your rights under the Consumer Fraud Act, call us as soon as possible to speak with one of our lawyers.
Questions about the Consumer Fraud Act and Your Real Estate Transaction? Call Our Trusted South Jersey Lawyers Today
Whether you are a New Jersey consumer or business, you may be entitled to the protections afforded by the Consumer Fraud Act. If you have concerns about your rights, the first step is to speak with an experienced lawyer who can provide answers about your specific situation.
To schedule your free phone consultation, call our office or submit an online message through this website.
Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate-Based Consumer Fraud Act Claims in New Jersey
Realtors, brokers, sellers, and inspectors are all responsible to you as the buyer for their unlawful conduct. The Consumer Fraud Act generally applies to someone who regularly engages in real estate sales transactions. The logic behind holding the realtor responsible is that a buyer should be able to rely upon that person’s training, experience, honesty and diligence in facilitating the real estate transaction—and the realtor is making a profit. Because of this, the realtor has a duty, among other things, to take steps to confirm information about the physical condition of the property.
For similar reasons, sellers which are “in the business” of rehabbing and re-selling or “flipping” real estate are also regulated by the Consumer Fraud Act. So are home inspectors and home improvement contractors.
If a reasonable person would find the information important to determining whether they would proceed with the transaction—that information is considered “material”.
Yes, usually six years from the purchase or service provided. However, there are safe harbor provisions in the Consumer Fraud Act that can shield realtors from liability. Generally, to qualify under the safe harbor rules, the realtor must have had no actual knowledge that the information provided was false, deceptive or misleading. The realtor must also be able to show that they made a reasonable inquiry to obtain relevant information. Obtaining a disclosure statement from the seller or a report from a licensed home inspector can be used to argue that a reasonable inquiry was made but it is not the “be all, end all”. In fact, these documents often form the basis for a successful claim.
If you feel you have a claim or have questions about your real estate transaction, home inspection, or home improvement contractor – please give us a call at 856 642-6445 or contact us via our convenient online contact form.