YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

A legal lesson in geography

April 23, 2006|Mary Umberger | Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Years ago, a friend of mine moved into a house and discovered that it was in a school district other than the one on the for-sale listing. She cheerfully enrolled her kids in the new district.

But a couple in New Jersey are not so happy. A three-judge panel has ruled that they can sue the realty firm that they claim incorrectly informed them of the location of their $743,000 home.

The couple said they thought the house was in Montville, but later learned it was in Towaco. The buyers said Towaco was less prestigious and had a lower-rated school system. In their lawsuit, they accused the realty company of fraud, but a judge dismissed their claim, saying the agent may have engaged in "puffery" but not fraud. The appeals panel disagreed, saying: "Buyers are entitled to expect that the Realtors who are assisting them in their housing search will know where the houses are located."

The case now moves to trial.


Checks and imbalances

A subdivision near Tampa, Fla., recently had the idea of requiring criminal background checks for would-be residents. The homeowners association considered a proposal to make home sales contingent on the reports, with the aim of rooting out sexual predators.

The checks are required occasionally by condo and co-op buildings, and landlords are known for screening would-be tenants. But such a restriction by a single-family homeowners group would be rare.

Word of the proposal set off alarms in the neighborhood, and residents defeated the proposal and voted out the board members running for reelection, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Los Angeles Times Articles