Does New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act Apply to Real Estate?
Real estate transactions are always complex and inevitably have various challenges before closing. Often buyers (and sellers) are subject to misrepresentations, false information, or misleading information about the property they are acquiring.
In New Jersey, all real estate agents (and any persons or companies involved in the deal) have a variety of obligations not only to their clients but to all others involved in the transaction.
If an agent or their brokerage is found to have violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), they face significant consequences including triple damages and reimbursement of legal fees and costs.
Although the CFA often focuses on food and retail establishments, it also contains specific provisions related to the real estate industry. In addition, the CFA provides for harsh penalties on those who commit fraudulent and predatory practices against the elderly and people with disabilities.
The New Jersey courts have consistently applied the CFA to real estate agents, their brokers, banks, and any person or corporation or companies selling or listing any type of real estate.
If you suspect you’ve been the victim of fraud, you must consult with a qualified, experienced New Jersey real estate lawyer immediately to analyze your case and, if the N.J. CFA is applicable to your circumstances the right lawyer will know y how to approach the issue on your behalf.
What Are Some Of the “Required” Elements of the Fraud?
Every case is unique. A knowledgeable real estate lawyer will rely upon the specific details of your situation to prove fraud.
Generally though, your Moorestown real estate law team will prove liability under the Act by using three elements; they are:
- There was provable unlawful conduct by the defendant.
- You suffered a calculable and ascertainable loss due to this fraudulent conduct.
- There is a direct and causal relationship between illegal conduct and your loss.
In real estate fraud cases, there are commonly specific ways that the seller, agent, broker, etc., may damage you. Usually, this is done by false representation, failing to disclose pertinent information or abuse of their position.
This may sound confusing, and sometimes it is; however, your detail-oriented real estate lawyer will know how to clear up the confusion and present your case vividly and rationally to the court. So, even if you suspect fraud in your real estate transaction, obtaining a free case evaluation by a qualified real estate lawyer will help to determine if your suspicions have merit under New Jersey Law.
How Strong Is the New Jersey CFA; Can It Really Help Me?
New Jersey Courts are known to liberally enforce the provisions of the NJCFA, and regarded as one of the most consumer-friendly courts in the country.
When any person or business (including real estate) acts “unconscionably” typically through deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, or misrepresentation, they will be held accountable. Put more simply, the New Jersey CFA “has teeth”.,
However, as strong as the NJCFA may be, you must consult a real estate lawyer with experience, and sufficient knowledge of how to apply the law to your situation. Selecting the “consummate” New Jersey real estate law team is vital.
I Do Suspect Fraud in My Real Estate Deal; How Should I Proceed?
First, real estate transactions and associated fraud are legally complex, with many “moving parts” involved. If you believe you are the victim of a misrepresentation, misleading facts, or one of many fraudulent acts during a real estate transaction you should promptly obtain the advice and professional guidance of a qualified New Jersey real estate law team as soon as possible.
You can usually obtain a free initial case evaluation if you find yourself in a situation where you, or your business, has been the victim of one of the unlawful practices covered by the NJCFA. You may be entitled to substantial relief and monetary damages.
Time may not be on your side. You must act quickly. So gather your facts, and find the right New Jersey real estate law team to work on your behalf.