@properties broker misled buyers on water-damaged home, lawsuit claims

Broker J.P. Bitting is accused of helping conceal the home’s flooding problem

J.P. Bitting and the Oak Park home at 900 North East Avenue (Credit: Redfin and @properties)
J.P. Bitting and the Oak Park home at 900 North East Avenue (Credit: Redfin and @properties)

A broker with @properties is being sued for allegedly misleading buyers of an Oak Park house on the home’s history of water leaks.

Broker J.P. Bitting is accused of failing to disclose water leaks and damage to the home — in violation of state law — and of misleading the buyers about the nature of the leaks, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The suit is brought by Joal and Kathryn Kjarsgaard, who bought the home at 900 North East Avenue in June 2015. Before closing on the house, the former owners and Bitting produced a residential real property disclosure report, which made no mention of leakage problems or of basement damage caused by leaks, according to the suit.

At a viewing of the home, the Kjarsgaards asked about water damage marks seen on a basement door frame. Bitting responded the leak was a one-time problem caused by faulty gutters, and that the matter was fixed, the suit alleges.

On the final walkthrough, however, the homebuyers noticed water seeping in from a basement foundation wall. The former owners told Biting that the leak was because the washing machine was disconnected, and Biting relayed that information to the buyers, according to the suit.

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The Kjarsgaards took the word of the homeowners and their broker and went through with the purchase. But after buying the home, the Kjarsgaards determined the home’s foundation walls had a history of leaks and the basement a history of flooding.

Bitting knew about the problem, the lawsuit alleges, because he managed the property for the previous owners while they lived abroad in 2012 and 2013 — when frequent flooding occurred.

During one of those floods, the tenant at the time notified Bitting of the problem, and he told them to use a shop-vac to remove the standing water, according to the suit.

The homeowners are suing Bitting, @properties and the previous owners, Kevin and Amy Reilly, and is asking the courts to award $300,000.

A spokesman for @properties declined comment, as did Bitting. The Reillys could not be reached for comment.