What to do if a seller did not provide a property disclosure when a house was sold and there were undisclosed problems?

UPDATED: Aug 27, 2011

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What to do if a seller did not provide a property disclosure when a house was sold and there were undisclosed problems?

I purchased a house 10 months ago. It was a FSBO and I used local attorney for closing who also represented the buyer. I was not aware of the seller’s responsibility to provide the disclosure statement so I did not ask for one. The home inspector found only minor repair concerns. The seller advertised new roof, siding and windows 3 years prior. After moving in we discovered that the basement leaked when it rained. We spent money to repair the basement. Recent storm revealed that roof leaks, mold in attic, drywall damaged. No permits ever issued for roof, siding or windows. Local contractor did the work. Advised of shoddy roof job.

Asked on August 27, 2011 Iowa


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In most states in this country the selelrs of all real property are required to submit a written disclosure statement as part of the sale to all potential buyers even if the sellers are representing themselves in the sale without the use of a real estate agent or an attorney.

The failure for you to receive a transfer disclosure statement from the seller disclosing all known problems about the property puts the seller at risk for the costs of repairs or the diminution in value of the property below its purchase price, whichever is less.

I also see liability as to the attorney you used in the sale for not advising you of the need to review a written disclosure before close of escrow from the seller about the property's condition.

Potentially the home inspector did a poor job in his or her inspection of the property by not discovering the problems that you have written about before close of escrow.

From what you have written, you need to consult with another attorney well experienced in real estate matters about possible claims against the seller, the attorney you used and the home inspector.

Good luck.


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