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Is it illegal to sell a house you know has damage but you fail to tell the buyer this

Helena, AL |

So can you be held responsible if they find said damage after they buy it. But during the entire buying process you never told them about said damage

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Attorney answers 3


Hiding defects that should be disclosed is illegal.


Although many jurisdictions have moved away from the caveat emptor doctrine through the enactment of mandatory seller disclosure laws, the doctrine remains in place in the state of Alabama in the sale of homes and unimproved land. Alabama courts historically applied the caveat emptor doctrine with equal force to the sale of new and used homes. Some decades ago, the Alabama Supreme Court in Cochran v. Keeton abrogated the rule of caveat emptor in new home sales and recognized an implied warranty of habitability in the sale of a new home by its builder–vendor. Significantly, the implied warranty only arises in the sale of a “new” home by its builder–vendor. Although other jurisdictions have extended the warranty on various grounds, in Lee v. Clark & Associates Real Estate, Inc., 512 So. 2d 42 (Ala. 1987), the Alabama Supreme Court expressly refused to extend the warranty to subsequent purchasers. Therefore, the doctrine of caveat emptor remains the law of Alabama at present time.


You have the be careful with the "you never told them" position. Many times the contract will expressly lay out whether the seller is aware of any problems/damages. If the buyer later finds out this to be untrue, he could hold the seller liable for those misrepresentations.