A statute of limitations is the time period that you have to begin a lawsuit. In a real estate transaction, the statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the closing on the property. Depending of the type of lawsuit, in Pennsylvania, there are four separate statutes of limitations that could apply.
Breach of Contract
The parties to a real estate transaction have four years from the date of closing to file a lawsuit for breach of contract. A breach of contract claim is one in which a party claims that the other party violated one or more of the terms in the real estate contract.
The parties to a real estate transaction have two years from the date of closing to file a lawsuit for fraud. A fraud claim is where a party believes that the other party lied to the other party in the deal. Under the law, these lies are called material misrepresentations of fact.
The parties to a real estate transaction have six years from the date of closing to file a lawsuit for consumer fraud. A consumer fraud claim is governed by a statute called the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The UTPCPL provide protections to buyers against many specific things, including false advertising.
Real Estate Disclosure Law
The parties to a real estate transaction have two years from the date of closing to file a lawsuit for violation of the Real Estate Disclosure Law. The Real Estate Disclosure Law requires sellers to provide disclosure statements to buyers. If a seller makes false statements in a disclosure statement, she can be held responsible in certain situations.
In those cases where a party did not discover the reasons to sue until after the statute of limitations had expired, it is possible for the statute of limitations can begin again, but only if it is determined by a court that the reasons could not have been reasonably discovered during the initial two-year period. This is called the discovery rule.