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Erpenbach bill to protect home buyers passes Senate
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MONROE - The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that will protect home buyers who buy homes with defects.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, along with Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, proposed the bill in January.

The bill was designed to give buyers a legal recourse for fraud and misrepresentation when the seller lies about the condition of the property.

Erpenbach said a decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court last summer took away necessary rights for people who bought homes from sellers who knew the homes had defects.

"Immediately when the decision was handed down, I knew something needed to be done," Erpenbach said.

He said the court's decision "threw Wisconsin's home buyer protections into chaos."

Erpenbach said the bill fixes the problem.

He and Hansen worked with real estate groups, home inspectors and attorneys to come up with language to restore a home buyer's right to sue in cases of fraud and misrepresentation.

"With the housing market the way it is, making sure sellers are held accountable for the condition of the property they are selling is essential," Hansen said. "Imagine if you are a family that just made the biggest purchase of your life and that purchase turns into a nightmare because of a lie."

The bill is expected to go before the Assembly in March.

The Assembly already had a public hearing and is expected to pass the bill, which will then go to Gov. Jim Doyle.