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Statute of limitations concerning real estate sales

Portland, OR |

A home was sold more than 10 years ago.The sale was fully disclosed and recorded. The buyers is claiming for erosion damages to the property that were disclosed during the sale. Repairs were made prior to sale, the buyer new of these repairs and aknowledged them before the final sale . Can a seller be held liable for something that was fully disclosed and thought remedied more than 10 years later?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

Dear Portland Seller,

Several time limits are involved in real estate sales.

To enforce the contract, 5 years. (ORS 12.060(1))

If there is fraud, then 2 years from the date of discovery of the fraud.

Generally speaking, there is a 10-year statute of repose for claims in Oregon, with exceptions.

In the past, I've helped a seller beat down a claim by a buyer for problems that arose later. In that case, I charged about $600 to research the situation and the law and draft a strongly-worded letter. The seller did not hear back from the buyer.

Jeff Merrick, Oregon Trial Attorney
http://www.jeffmerrick.com 503-665-4234

The above is not legal advice. I cannot give you sound advice without knowing more information. It is intended to raise some issues for you to discuss with your own lawyer.

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Posted

As was said in the preceding answer, there are various statutes of limitation which can be applicable to a real estate transaction. Some earnest money agreements include their own (almost always shorter) time limitation on claims, and sometimes specifies how the claim must be asserterd (eg, by aribitration).

Oregon has an all-encompassing (at least almost) ten year "statute of ultimate repose," which bars almost all claims which are not barred earlier by other s.o.l.s.

In your case, where the problem was known and a settlement agreed upon more than ten years ago, I think there is almost no liklihood that the buyer now would be successful in asserting a claim. However, you should consult your attorney, who can evaluate all of the facts.

If you are sued, whether or not the claim is valid, you will need to defend the claim or a judgment might be obtained against you by "default."

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