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Mar 10, 2017

Can Patent And Latent Defects Lead To Real Estate Disputes?

The dangers of not having a home inspection conducting before purchasing a property is that a buyer may be unaware of a defect until he or she takes possession of the property. The question in this situation is, can the buyer sue?

The answer is maybe. A seller must disclose latent defects to a buyer. Latent defects are problems that cannot be identified during a reasonable inspection. For instance, water damage that is seeping into the home due to a faulty roof. If the seller was aware that the home had a latent defect and he or she fails to disclose it, the buyer can commence an action for damages.

However, where a vendor was unaware of latent problems with the home, then the buyer may not be successful when suing. It could also be difficult to determine whether the seller knew about the latent defect.

A seller is not obligated to disclose patent defects. Patent defects are defined as defects which can be detected during the course of an ordinary inspection. An example of a patent defect is, if there was a large hole in the wall. The buyer can demand to have the hole fixed before the closing date. If the seller agreed and then failed to conduct the repairs, then the buyer may have a valid claim against the seller.

There is one thing that may bar a successful claim. Buyers of real property must satisfy themselves that the property they’re buying is in good condition. Failing to do that can impact the validity of a claim. If a homebuyer waived a home inspection and later found a latent defect, their claim may not be successful unless he or she can prove the seller knew about the latent defect.

Whether a buyer has a valid claim against a seller depends on the factual circumstances of the case. A lawyer experienced in real estate law can accurately assess whether a claim against a seller can be successful.