real estate disclosure disputes

Common Defects That Lead to Disclosure Disputes

There are many issues related to real estate transactions. But few are more common than disputes regarding non-disclosed defects. When a seller is filling out paperwork and describing issues or concerns there might be with the property, disclosure is everything. If a buyer finds an issue with the property after the sale has been completed, they can attempt to take legal action against the seller for non-disclosures defects.

If you are involved in a property defect disclosure dispute, get help from a dedicated Maryland real estate lawyer at Evans Law. Schedule a free consultation when you call our office at (410) 626-6009. Here’s more about the property owner’s duty to disclose to a potential buyer and what some of the more common types of property defects are that are seen in disclosure disputes.

Property Owner’s Duty to Disclose

Under the law, when a seller is selling a property, they have an obligation to disclose when they are aware of certain defects. Specifically, sellers are required to disclose any information that could impact the value of the property. Sellers are required to provide this information to potential buyers and inform potential buyers when they learn of property defects.

This might include visible defects in the foundation of the home or non-visible defects such as neighbors that are rude or make a lot of noise. Sellers are not under any obligation to disclose property defects that they could not have been aware of and cannot be held accountable for such property defects.

It is important to note that sellers are required to disclose property defects even after they have been corrected. This means that potential buyers have a right to know that there are potential problems that could occur in the future. This is known as progressive destruction.

Common Types of Property Defects Resulting in Disclosure Disputes

When sellers are filling out disclosure forms, they should be sure to disclose any issues that could potentially devalue the home. While you may not feel it necessary to disclose dings in the cabinet or tears in the corner of the carpeting, it is important to be sure to disclose them anyway.

When in doubt, it is better to disclose potential property defects than to be accused of failing to disclose property defects and get involved in a disclosure dispute. Non-disclosure is a serious accusation and, in some situations, can result in a cancellation of your contract. Worse, if you have been accused of non-disclosure after closing, you could even be sued in civil court.

With that being said, there are some types of property defects that are seen more often in disclosure disputes than others. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the most common property defects include:

  • Electrical defects
  • Heating combustion problems
  • Structural damage
  • Foundation issues
  • Roof problems
  • Plumbing issues
  • Improper ventilation in crawl spaces or attics
  • Water infiltration system issues
  • Air infiltration system problems
  • Construction defects

Another major issue seen in disclosure disputes are problems with improperly completed do it yourself (DIY) Projects or repairs. Many of these types of projects and repairs require permits. And if the seller fails to obtain these permits, they have several options. The first is to remove the repairs or renovations made. Another option could be to seek a retroactive permit which would allow the renovations or repairs to remain in place. But the seller would still need to disclose these repairs and renovations in their reports.

Sellers also have the option of selling the home “as is”, as long as these renovations and repairs are disclosed to potential buyers. If you want to be sure that you avoid any potential disputes regarding property defect disclosures, have your Maryland real estate attorney handle these details on your behalf.

Get Help from a Maryland Real Estate Lawyer Today

If you have been accused of failing to disclose property defects, you need to make sure that you are protecting yourself. If you want to be sure that you are disclosing all appropriate property defects, but are unsure of which one should be included, get help from a trusted attorney.

Contact an experienced Maryland real estate lawyer at Evans Law. Schedule your initial consultation when you fill out our online contact form or call our office at (410) 626-6009.