Seller’s Legal Obligation to Disclose Hidden House Defects

The property market has been changing over time. This is especially in terms of the laws and regulations governing it. If you have some property you would like to dispose of, it is critical to understand what the law says about the seller’s obligation to disclose any defects.

You might end up in a legal tussle if you break these laws. Thus, you shouldn’t sell a property without disclosing latent defects that the buyer might not discover for months or years. Also, as a buyer, you should know what to keep your eye on when buying property.

This article will explore what the law says about the seller’s obligation to disclose hidden defects. It will also explain why you need business startup lawyers when buying property.

Let’s get into it.

What Does the Law Say About Disclosure of Property Defects?

Understanding the law’s stand on property sales is crucial. Otherwise, you might make mistakes that will affect you financially and in many other ways. The primary reason to learn what the law says is that so much has changed in the property industry with the new legislation.

For instance, it was the buyer’s role to conduct a due inspection before buying a property. This means the seller won’t be liable for any defects reported after the sale. However, we all know that some property defects aren’t easy to note unless you use the property for days or months.

The law that intends to save the buyers now puts them in an awkward situation. The legislation passed seeks to ensure that buyers don’t get exploited. It requires sellers to disclose any defects in their property before signing an agreement and closing a deal with the buyer.

You can take several steps if you buy the property and discover defects that the seller didn’t disclose. You can work with a real estate lawyer and file a lawsuit against the property seller. You will get compensated if they’re found guilty and the deal canceled.

It would be best to involve a real estate lawyer from the start of the deal. Experienced business startup lawyers know best about the defects that one can sue for. Such legal professionals can strengthen your case against the seller. This will ensure that you don’t lose money to an unscrupulous seller.

Types of Defects That a Seller Must Disclose

There’s a wide range of defects that you must disclose when selling property. You must know the defects of a house if you’ve been staying in it for some time. Thus, it would be best if you are keen to ensure the next owner is aware and ready to handle them.

Here are some of the defects to keep in mind:

  • Roof defects
  • Non-working septic tanks
  • Wiring and electrical issues
  • Permit or code violations
  • Underlying structural defects that aren’t easy to notice
  • Water damages
  • Shoddy construction and remodeling
  • Current and historical problems with pests and weeds
  • A violent death that occurred at the property in the past
  • Current and historic flooding issues
  • A flightpath or motorway within the property
  • Past disputes that authorities had to resolve

It is worth remembering that there are many other defects that you need to know. The list above isn’t exhaustive, but just a sneak peek of what to expect. 

But, it is also important that you don’t overdo and disclose too much information thus hindering the chances that your property has on the market. Seeking the assistance of real estate lawyers can help you find the balance in your contracts and disclosure, especially if your property has unique aspects.

The Consequences of Being Economical With The Truth

We already mentioned that there might be legal issues if a seller fails to disclose defects before selling property. But you might wonder what could happen if you hide the truth about your house. This section will explore why you must tell the truth when selling property.

The first problem if you don’t explain your property’s defects is that you’ll arouse suspicion. The buyer will lose trust and might start asking for an explanation. Even if you explain to them, they might still not trust you as much as they could have if you were open.

The first impression you create with the buyer will last long. The deal might end prematurely if your client doesn’t find you a truthful seller.

Sellers might start to avoid your property if they don’t find you honest. A stigmatized property is a hard sale because of the negative reviews potential buyers get about it. You need to avoid giving potential buyers a negative impression of your property.

It is also possible to get sued because of failing to disclose property defects. The best way to handle such a lawsuit is by hiring an experienced lawyer. Some attorneys understand the buying and selling of property and what happens if one party makes a mistake.

You might decide to go all alone without the help of a real estate lawyer. But this will be tricky since you might make errors that could complicate your case. Working with an expert will make the process seamless and save you from the stress that comes with lawsuits.

There are several business startup lawyers available in every state. Look at one’s industry experience before choosing them. The internet can be an excellent tool for finding an experienced real estate lawyer within your location.


This article has discussed everything you should know as a property seller. Selling property and failing to list its defect details is considered fraud. You might get into trouble with the law if you conceal these defects or misinform the buyer, and they can prove that in a court of law.

We have looked into what the law states about disclosing property defects. Also, we have explored the types of defects that one must disclose when selling property. Lastly, we have looked into the consequences one might face if they don’t disclose property defects. 

So, it’s best to be open and honest about your deal when selling a property as the trust the buyer has in you can go a long way.