Real Cases in Real Estate by Andrea Lee Negroni, Esq. – May 23rd Update

Real Cases in Real Estate by Andrea Lee Negroni, Esq. – May 23rd Update

Real Cases in Real Estate is a weekly update on real estate law, with legal principles illustrated and explained by lawsuits from around the country. The topics are wide-ranging for appeal to a broad spectrum of readers including lawyers, homeowners, investors and the general public. Andrea Lee Negroni, a Washington DC attorney and legal writer with 25 years of experience in financial services and mortgage law, contributes the case summaries.

Followers of Real Cases in Real Estate will learn and be entertained by lawsuits involving nuisance, trespass, zoning violations, deed restrictions, title insurance, public utilities, mechanics liens, construction defects, adverse possession, foreclosure and eviction, divorce and marital property rights, tenants' rights, and more. Real Cases in Real Estate uncovers the unpredictable, amusing, and sometimes outrageous disputes between next-door neighbors, contractors and homeowners, condo boards and residents, real estate brokers and homebuyers, and zoning administrators and developers.

Each fully cited case summary highlights the essential law of the case and explains the principal legal theories and concepts relevant to the outcome. Plain language treatment makes Real Cases in Real Estate accessible to lawyers and laymen alike.

Whether you follow real estate law professionally or as a hobby, you'll find something new and useful every week in Real Cases in Real Estate.


Updates for the Week of May 23rd, 2011

A Flood Vendor, Appraiser and Surveyor Were All Mistaken About Whether a Texas Home Was in a Special Flood Hazard Area, but the Buyers Still Lost their Home.

The Zimmerhanzels bought a home near a creek from the Smiths in 2004. The Stormwater Research Group, the property appraiser and a surveyor all indicated the property was not in a 100-year flood plain, but the sellers advised the buyers that the property had flooded once, taking on "an inch or two of water." The Smiths had flood insurance, which they assigned to the Zimmerhanzels at closing.

In 2007, the property flooded and 13 inches of water entered the Zimmerhanzels' house. Linda Zimmerhanzel then searched the flood maps, which are a public record, and learned that the house was indeed in a flood zone. The local flood zone administrator ordered the house demolished and decided that any new house built by the Zimmerhanzels would have to be located outside the flood zone. The Zimmerhanzels sued the flood zone vendor and the sellers, claiming they would not have bought the home if they had known it was in a flood zone.

The Zimmerhanzels lost because their lawsuit was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The Texas Court of Appeals noted that the owners could have learned that their property was in a flood zone within two years after buying it if they had bothered to investigate.  The appeals court said the homeowners should have investigated the flood zone issue despite the opinions of three experts, because they knew their home was near a creek and the sellers disclosed the property had flooded once before.  Moreover, the court observed that the purchase contract between the Smiths and Zimmerhanzels was not contingent on the outcome of the flood zone determination, so that argument went nowhere.

Lexis.com subscribers can view the enhanced version of Zimmerhanzel v. Green, 2011 Tex. App. LEXIS 3117 (Tex. App. El Paso Apr. 27, 2011)

Non-subscribers can use lexisOne's Free Case Law search to view the free, un-enhanced version of Zimmerhanzel v. Green, 2011 Tex. App. LEXIS 3117 (Tex. App. El Paso Apr. 27, 2011)

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