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Condo purchase, unknown construction assessment, seller disclosure statement and resale certificate are in conflict.

Seattle, WA |

I purchased a condo in 2011. Six months later, I learned of a construction assessment, and as the owner, now I owe it. 6-7 years ago, just after initial construction, the HOA sued the construction company and recovered only a fraction of the money before company went out of business. In 2009, the previous owner was sent info about an upcoming assessment with an unknown amount, but didn't let her agent know. The seller disclosure statement and resale certificate don't mention building or unit defects, and stated that though there was a lawsuit, the judgement was paid in full and dismissed. That turned out to be inaccurate. What is the sellers responsibility, the buyer/seller agents, and even my responsibility? Do I have recourse to have the seller or real estate agent compensate me?

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Attorney answers 1


There is a significant difference between 1) a disclosure that a judgment against the condo owner was (or was not) paid in full and 2) a disclosure about the pending special assessment against all unit owners to make up for the shortfall in the HOA's recovery from the builder. In your situation, there may be liability on the part of the seller, the HOA, and even the property manager if a known, pending assessment was not disclosed on the resale certificate. This may be true even if they disclosed the prior lawsuit against the builder, because the information about that lawsuit may not have been enough to qualify as "notice" to you of the pending repairs and assessment that you now face as a unit owner.