Imagine you move to another city because of a promotion or job change. You list your home with a reputable local realtor. You are confident your home is safe when shown to qualified buyers. After signing the papers, you hand the house keys over to your agent.
One day you receive a call from your former neighbor stating vandals attacked your home. A quick call to your agent reveals that a third-party agent was the last person to enter the house. They failed to secure the locks before leaving.
Understanding vicarious liability
Real estate agreements must state specific guidelines. The agent representing you must provide a disclosure. It will outline their duties as a real estate professional. When a third party is negligent, the result is a claim of vicarious liability. This assigns liability to a person that is not the direct cause of harm or damage. Even if the original agent is not responsible, they may face a lawsuit for damage liability. A negligent act of someone acting with authority may qualify as vicarious liability, especially if they assigned authority to a negligent party.
Understanding your options
A civil lawsuit may be necessary in this type of case. A monetary settlement may be an option for a quick resolution without the need for going to court. This can speed up necessary repairs and get your home back on the market quicker. If the amount of compensation is not enough to cover your losses, the court must hear your case. Your legal representative must file negligence charges against the responsible party. Your attorney can claim the agent failed to exercise a reasonable level of care.
In conclusion, understand your legal rights before handing over the keys to your home. Networking with other agents is an essential part of selling real estate. Let your agent know you expect them to treat your home as if it were theirs.