Seller’s Duty of Disclosure
A seller of residential real property has both a statutory and common law duty to disclose all material facts to a buyer of the property, including disclosing all facts known to the seller that materially affect the value or desirability of the property. A seller’s failure to fulfill this duty of disclosure is considered actual fraud.
When a seller of real property “fixes up” the property to cover up defects, that seller has a duty to disclose the concealed fact to the buyer. When a person takes positive actions to conceal defects in the property or other material facts, or otherwise takes some action to prevent discovery of the defects by the buyer, it is the same as if there were an affirmative misrepresentation.
Seller’s Agent’s Duty of Disclosure
A seller’s real estate agent has a duty to disclose all known facts to the buyer, and the additional duty to inspect the seller’s property and disclose to the buyer all defects that are discovered.
Buyer’s Agent’s Duty of Disclosure
A buyer’s real estate agent has a duty to advise and consult with the buyer, and this duty includes the discovery and disclosure of material facts that may affect the buyer’s decision.
Who Can I Sue and What are My Remedies
A buyer who has been defrauded in the sale of residential property can sue the seller if the seller is believed to have failed to fulfill their duty of disclosure, and the real estate agents for the seller and/or the buyer, if the buyer believes either or both of the real estate agents failed to fulfill their duties of investigation or disclosure.
When a buyer in a real estate sales transaction is defrauded, that buyer can use either the remedy of rescinding the sales transaction, or recovery of the buyer’s damages.
I have represented clients in East Bay California and Oakland California in failure to disclose actions. If you have questions, or need representation by a California real estate attorney involving a sale or disclosure dispute, please feel free to contact me to arrange for a consultation at (510) 465-0025.