Did The Seller Of Land Defraud Me Acreage?

Last year, a friend and I purchased a 15 acre lot. This year, we hired a surveyor to mark out the bounds and separate it into 2 equal lots. When he finished his work, he informed us that we only have 11.80 acres and that we lost about 80 feet of frontage and about 100 feet of depth. How could this happen? Do we have any recourse?

It sounds like you should be addressing this question first to your surveyor. It’s a technical question why the property as described in your purchase contract is different from what they’re surveying.

Your recourse will depend in large part on that answer. It’s worth noting that typically contracts will have the magic words “more or less” after the acerage, and may also have provisions that alert the buyer to do their own inspection/surveying prior to purchase. Either of these would be marks against you in any dispute.

However, the difference between 11.8 acres and 15 is over 20%, which is pretty substantial. Especially to the extent the purchase price was based on acerage, you might be able to make a claim that the seller defrauded you. It may be an uphill battle, given the fact that acerage is open to observation, but it will cost you little to explore the possibility with an attorney.

One other thing: If the reason for the difference is due to something that is in the public records, but did not appear in your title report, you might have a claim under your title insurance policy.