Five People Arrested in Sinkhole Home Sale

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on December 7, 2017

Five People Arrested in Sinkhole Home Sale Two sellers, two real estate agents, and a mortgage broker were arrested after selling a home with an unrepaired sinkhole to a family of eight.

The sellers, Clarence and Mary Surrena, of Seminole County, sold their Spring Hill home for $275,000 in November of 2017. The Surrena’s filed a sinkhole claim on the home in October 2013 and received $155,000 to fix the issue. However, the sinkhole was not repaired.

The sellers acknowledged the sinkhole claim but did not disclose the damage. Authorities say the two real estate agents and the mortgage broker all conspired to keep the sinkhole activity from the buyers, including selling the home without insurance and an incomplete seller disclosure.

In Florida, sellers must by law disclose any knowledge of defects of the home, including sinkhole damage. If you are paying cash for the home, then you don’t have to carry insurance and re free to take a risk with a home that has sinkhole damage. However, if you are seeking to finance your home, the lender and your insurance company will require documentation showing that the appropriate repairs have been made.

If you are worried about sinkhole issues, either with a property you are considering or a property adjacent to one you are considering, repairs will have been recorded as a matter of public record, since inspections are required to receive permits for the work that would have been completed on a sinkhole property.

It’s not illegal to sell a home with sinkhole damage in Florida, but it is illegal not to disclose sinkhole damage to a potential buyer.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate and Civil Litigation cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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