Can we sue previous owners for failure to put a roof issue on the sellers disclosure?
Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you.
1 attorney answer
Law Offices Michael J. Brooks, Esquire
[email protected] “Perspective from the Legal Vantage Point”
You should be aware of the Pennsylvania Real Estate and Seller Disclosure Act (the “Act”) and its underlying rationale. Under the Act, a Seller who intends to transfer an interest in real property is required to disclose to the Buyer any material defects with the property which are known to the Seller by completing all applicable items in a property disclosure statement. The Act requires that such seller property disclosure statement be provided in all residential real estate transfers except for certain fiduciary transfers and transfers of new residential construction.
A Seller of residential real property will be liable in the amount of actual damages suffered by the Buyer if such Seller willfully or negligently violates or fails to perform any duty prescribed by the Act. However, a Buyer’s action for damages against a Seller for violations of the Act must be commenced within a certain time period that begins to run from the date of final settlement on the affected property.
Although a transfer made in the administration or an estate or trust, is exempt under the Act, a person who lived at the house may have a difficult time defending on that bases and in addition to a cause of action under the Act, liability may also be imposed under alternative legal theories. Although the Act creates a duty to provide a written statement of any defects, it does not modify existing law with respect to the seller’s duty to disclose defects. Pennsylvania law has long required that sellers disclose any defective conditions which are not obvious to potential purchasers. There may also be causes of action against the Seller’s Agent and/or the Buyer’s Agent. Such options should be discussed with an attorney.
Disclaimer: Please note you should not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only. Legal advice can only come from a qualified attorney after having had an opportunity to become familiar with all of the fact specific circumstances of a particular legal matter, and then to apply or research the relevant law.