A three-judge state appeals court declared that a New Jersey couple may sue a real estate agency that allegedly incorrectly assured them their newly built, $740,000 house was in a particular community, Associated Press reported today.
It turns out the home, while in New Jersey’s Montville Township, was located not in the section also called Montville but in the neighboring community of Towaco, reports said.
Theodore and Frances Vagias said Towaco was less prestigious, with a lower-rated school system, and filed a lawsuit against Weichert Co. alleging a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, according to the appeals court decision, reports said.
But a judge in a lower court dismissed their claim, saying the real estate agent may have engaged in “puffery,” but not fraud, according to reports.
Wednesday’s ruling by a three-judge appeals panel, however, says that while a jury may not agree with the couple’s assertion, they do deserve their day in court.
“Given the importance of location in the purchasing decision, buyers are entitled to expect that the Realtors who are assisting them in their housing search will know where the houses are actually located,” the appeals panel wrote. “A Realtor’s misrepresentation on that critical issues is a serious matter and violates the act.”
The panel remanded the case for trial. Phone messages left with Weichert were not immediately returned Thursday.
Montville Township, population 21,000, is located about 30 miles west of New York.