Real estate disputes can result in lengthy and costly conflicts. Home sellers need to be aware of any problems that can cause health or financial difficulties for buyers and disclose those issues before a sale takes place.
The failure to disclose serious deficiencies with a property in Texas can result in legal and financial problems. Items in the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) disclosure form that sellers need to reveal to any potential buyer include:
Lead paint: Federal law dictates that both parties sign the disclosure if the home was built before 1978 regardless of whether the paint was removed before the sale. However, homeowners who are not aware of lead paint issues are not required to investigate whether they exist.
Fire damage: Sellers must disclose whether they are aware of any fires, whether they were the result of mechanical problems and if the damage has been repaired.
Water damage: TREC’s form asks whether the owner is aware of any previous water penetration, drainage issues or flooding.
Termites: Sellers must disclose previous or current termite activity and whether repairs have been done or are needed.
Other issues that must be disclosed include:
- Radon gas
- Asbestos components
- Hazardous or toxic waste
- Previous structural or roof repair
- Aluminum wiring
- Presence of methamphetamine
Texas differs from other states over death disclosures
Unlike many other states, Texas does not require sellers to disclose whether someone died in the home if the death was not related to the condition of the property such as in the case of homicide or suicide. However, Texas does require disclosure if the death resulted from a lack of safety precautions on the property, such as a child drowning in a pool that didn’t have proper fencing even if the sellers have taken steps to correct the issue.
Know your legal rights if proper disclosures aren’t made
A seller’s failure to disclose defects or damage to a home can cause significant financial problems and even endanger your health. Seeking the advice of an experienced real estate attorney here in Texas can help you understand the complicated laws involved and obtain the appropriate compensation.