when buying a house, does the owner have to tell about problems with the house before closing in the state of Tennessee?

UPDATED: Oct 20, 2017

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when buying a house, does the owner have to tell about problems with the house before closing in the state of Tennessee?

Like there is a corner of the finished basement that has an area 5ft X 2ft X 4ft high enclosed with concrete. And the house has two septic tanks with one closed off.

Asked on October 20, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The owner has to reveal "latent," or not readily discernable, problems which are known to him. He does not need to disclose anything he is unaware of (and, after all, can't disclose it if he does not know about it). And if the issue is one that the buyer or his/her representative (e.g. a home inspector) would reasonably see when looking at the house, he does not have to disclose that, either: "obvious", not hidden issues, the buyer must find for himself.
He also cannot lie: if you ask him a direct question, he must disclose what he knows about the property. So he would have had to disclose the septic system and that one tank is closed off, since that's not necessarily readily discernable. And if the buyer asked about why the 5x2x4 area is enclosed, he'd have to reveal what he knows about--but since the enclosure is obvious, if the buyer did not ask, he did not have to volunteer information.

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