Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Bit Better Than Caveat Emptor

I represent a lot of home buyers in claims against the people from whom they bought their house.  When it gets down to it, home buyers in Pittsburgh, like everywhere else, are basically taking the sellers word on the condition of the home.  This idea is now top priority on me and my wife's mind as we purchase our first home.

Fortunately, in 2001, as part of an an effort to protect home buyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania enacted the Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law at 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 7301 et seq.. The Seller Disclosure Law dovetails with my last post on civil fraud that you can read here.

The PA Disclosure Law, provides that “Any seller who intends to transfer any interest in real property shall disclose to the buyer any material defects with the property known to the seller by completing all applicable items in a property disclosure statement which satisfies the requirements of section 7304 (The standard disclosure form).” 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 7303. The Disclosure Law further provides, that- if information disclosed … is later rendered inaccurate before the final settlement as a result of any act, occurrence or agreement the seller must notify the buyer of the problem. 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 7307.

The seller is not obligated by to make a specific investigation of the property to fill out the disclosure statement. But when completing the property disclosure statement, the seller may not make any representations that the seller (or their agent) knows or has reason to know are false, deceptive or misleading. The seller has an obligation to disclose all known material defects.

Under the Disclosure Law, any seller who willfully or negligently violates the requirements of disclosure “shall be liable in the amount of actual damages suffered by the buyer as a result of a violation of this chapter.” 68 Pa.C.S. §7311(a). Share this post :
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on StumbleUpon
Share on Delicious
Share on Reddit
Share on Digg
Share on simpy
Share on Technorati
furl Share on furl
Feeds RSS Subscribe to Feeds RSS

No comments:

Post a Comment