In the world of real estate, transparency and honesty are of paramount importance. When it comes to buying or selling a property, both parties must provide accurate and complete information about the condition of the property.
Failure to fully communicate the condition of a property can lead to disputes and, in some cases, even real estate litigation. As a property owner, it is important for you to understand when another party’s failure to disclose is valid grounds for pursuing litigation.
The duty to disclose
Sellers have a legal obligation to disclose all known defects or issues with the property to potential buyers. This means that they must reveal any significant problems or shortcomings that could affect the property’s value.
Concealment of defects
A common issue that can trigger real estate litigation is the concealment of defects. If a seller knows about and intentionally hides a significant defect in the property, such as a leaky roof or structural damage, this can result in legal action.
Some defects may not be immediately visible or obvious to the buyer. In legal terms, these are latent defects. In cases where a seller is aware of latent defects but fails to disclose them, it can lead to real estate litigation.
Making false statements about the property’s condition is another situation that can lead to legal disputes. If a seller misrepresents the condition of the property, such as claiming a newly renovated kitchen when it has actually gone without update for years, it can be grounds for litigation.
The 2020 Annual Statistical Report for the Texas Judiciary shows that, in a 5-year period, the number of civil case filings regarding real property increased by 18%. Property owners wronged, either through a failure to disclose or otherwise, have every right to pursue legal action when a dispute arises.