What’s The Point Of The Residential Property Disclosure Form? Is It Worth The Paper It’s Written On?

 

So, you’ve probably moved into your new house, only to learn that there is some water intrusion or other damage that was concealed by the seller and their realtor. If you’re like most home buyers, you immediately start looking through the closing documents that you filed away in the filing cabinet. You search, find them, and read them for the first time. “AH Moment”. You find the section where the seller initialed “No Water Intrusion”, but what next?

Well, you would think that since this is a “required” Residential Property Disclosure Form for all real estate transfers under the Ohio Revised Code that there would be a cause of action. But, NO, there is NO SPECIAL CAUSE OF ACTION. You must prove actual fraud or fraudulent concealment to recover any money at all.

So what does this mean for your situation? You must be able to prove that the seller had actual knowledge of the errors and the form as opposed to them being negligent while filling it out. This is a high bar to overcome, especially considering caveat emptor, which means “buyer beware”, and is designed to finalize real estate transactions by preventing disappointed buyers from litigating every imperfection existing in residential property.

In other words, you cannot recover damages if: (1) the condition complained of is open to observation or discoverable upon reasonable inspection; (2) the purchaser had the unimpeded opportunity to examine the premises; and (3) there is no fraud on the part of the seller.

This is why it is important to get a good home inspection.

If you have an issue with your recently purchased home, contact us to schedule your Case Evaluation.

 

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