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California law requires home sellers to disclose known defects

If you are buying or selling real estate in California, you should know that state law requires the seller of residential real estate to disclose any known construction defects to the buyer. Construction defects include problems with the roof, foundation and walls as well as any environmental hazards such as radon, mold or lead paint. Defects must also be disclosed for the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems.

The purpose of the disclosure is to assist the buyer in evaluating the property. If you are a seller and are in doubt about whether to disclose a certain defect, it is usually better to go ahead and disclose it. Although required by construction law, many sellers do not disclose known construction defects, which can lead to financial loss for the buyer who has to correct the defect at a later time.

One of the defects often not disclosed is the presence of mold. If you have purchased property that has mold growth or mold contamination that was not disclosed, you may want to hire an expert to determine whether the mold represents a hazard. If so, it might be considered a construction defect and could be grounds for litigation. A lawyer who is familiar with cases related to mold could probably help make that determination.

Construction defects are often not apparent until there is some type of incident such as a fire or flood. If you are a seller, hiring a home inspector to look for hidden defects and keeping a record of it could protect you from future claims. Residential construction defect litigation is a specific area of law. If you would like to learn more, please view our page on residential defect law.

Source: Law Office of Bryan R. Snyder, APC, "Residential Defect Law", August 18, 2014

Source: Law Office of Bryan R. Snyder, APC, "Residential Defect Law", August 18, 2014

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