When selling real estate in Roseville, Sacramento, and other areas throughout California, the seller has a legal responsibility to provide accurate, meaningful disclosures about the property for sale. Failing to disclose known defects or material issues will open both the seller and their agent to substantial liability. Often, disputes over undisclosed defects result in costly litigation.
The Roseville and Sacramento real estate dispute over nondisclosure attorneys at NewPoint Law Group, LLP, have years of experience representing Californians in contested real estate transactions. If you have purchased or are in the process of buying property and believe that the seller failed to disclose material defects that affect the value of the property, call our firm at 800-358-0305 to schedule a legal consultation to review your case.
Disclosure Requirements in Sacramento and Roseville Real Estate Transactions
California requires a seller to provide a buyer with a Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement or “TDS.” This document is a comprehensive overview of the structural quality of the property and a transparent assessment of the surrounding neighborhood and any other factors that would affect the use and enjoyment of the property.
The TDS must be completed promptly and provided before the execution of the sales agreement. As a general practice, seller agents provide the TDS along with the certified home inspection and home warranty information. If the disclosure papers are not provided before entering into the sales agreement, the buyer has the right to cancel the sale. After receiving the TDS, the buyer has three days to cancel the contract if the TDS was delivered in person, or five days if it was mailed.
The TDS covers a broad range of issues and subjects ranging from structural defects to electrical and plumbing problems. A complete description of all the appliances included in the sale and their operating condition is also required. The TDS must disclose past damage or issues that were repaired, such as flooding or mold. Additionally, it must include information about the surrounding neighborhood and nearby areas that affect the enjoyment of the property, such as traffic patterns and noise. Furthermore, the TDS has to list any deaths that occurred on the property within the past three years.
Failing to Disclose Material Facts in Roseville and Sacramento Real Estate Sales
These disclosure documents are required to accurately describe the material facts that affect the condition and the value of the property. “Material” facts usually concern the property’s structural integrity, including foundations, floors, ceilings, windows, and electrical systems. This is not a comprehensive list, as any issue or problem that adversely affects the property’s value or desirability could be considered a material fact. If the property you purchased has a defect that was not disclosed, contact our Sacramento and Roseville real estate nondisclosure attorneys today.
Liability for Nondisclosure in a Roseville or Sacramento Real Estate Transaction
You usually have the right to sue a seller for fraudulent misrepresentation if they purposefully concealed a known defect. To win your case, you will have to establish that the seller was aware of the issue and willfully failed to disclose it or purposefully concealed it. If the defect was unknown to the seller after due diligence, then they usually cannot be held liable for failing to disclose it.
If you believe the defect was purposefully concealed, talk to our experienced attorneys. We will thoroughly examine the property for evidence of concealment, including fresh paint or recently installed drywall. There might also be evidence of the seller’s agent being instructed not to disclose certain information, such as emails or voicemails. We will talk with your agent, the seller’s agent, and even neighbors to collect all of the relevant information and facts.
To hold a seller liable for failing to disclose information, the buyer must have taken specific actions to inspect the property before purchase. Buyers must conduct a thorough inspection of the property to discover any potential defects. However, the seller or their agents will not be released from liability for failing to disclose a hidden defect in the property because it was so well hidden that it was not discovered during a home inspection or because a home warranty is in place to cover the issue anyway.
If you believe that a material fact, hidden defect, or construction problem was not disclosed, you should immediately contact our experienced Roseville and Sacramento real estate nondisclosure dispute attorneys. California has statutes of limitations that limit the time to file lawsuits in real estate matters, so you should file your claim as soon as you can.
Damages and Relief for the Nondisclosure of Material Facts or Hidden Defects in Real Estate Cases
California law imposes a duty of good faith and fair dealing on both parties in a contractual relationship. The failure to disclose material facts or hidden defects is a breach of the seller’s duty of acting in good faith. This standard also applies to the seller’s agent or any other real estate broker. If the seller or their agent breaches this duty, they could be liable for damages. You could also be entitled to other forms of relief.
Economic damages are usually based on the actual costs to repair the hidden defect or the devaluation of the property. Our California real estate nondisclosure lawyer will carefully evaluate your case to determine a reasonable value. The damages and other forms of relief a buyer could be entitled to include the following:
Compensatory damages are the actual costs to the buyer to repair the defect or issue. This includes any decrease in value of the property due to the undisclosed defect or problem.
Punitive damages could be awarded if the seller is proven to have acted with malice in failing to disclose or conceal a material fact. Punitive damages are not related to any incurred expenses but are meant as a punishment and a deterrent.
In some instances, the entire contract could be rescinded, requiring the seller to return any funds paid and take the property back.
Call Our Roseville and Sacramento Real Estate Nondisclosure Disputes Attorney for a Consultation
If you believe that you purchased a commercial or residential property and the seller or their agent failed to disclose known defects or material facts, contact our experienced Roseville and Sacramento real estate nondisclosure disputes attorney. Call us at the NewPoint Law Group, LLP, at 800-358-0305 to schedule your legal consultation or reach out online.