Florida Real Estate: Appeals Court Rules on Seller Disclosure
Posted by Benjamin Dona on Friday, December 9th, 2011 at 5:33pm.
Once again, a Florida Appeals Court has upheld the current standard for seller disclosure requirements that apply to Florida real estate transactions. Citing the landmark disclosure case, Johnson vs. Davis, the appeal court found that the law requires a seller to "actually" know about a problem in order to be held liable for a material defect.
While sellers are obligated to disclose known defects that materially affect the value of the property and that are hidden or unknown to the buyer, the case at hand focused on whether a seller can be held liable for not disclosing a material defect they "should have known" about. The original trial court in the case used the "should have known" standard and awarded damages to the buyer even though no evidence presented suggested that the sellers actually knew about the defects prior to the sale.
The court of appeal reversed that decision and reaffirmed the existing disclosure standard: a buyer must prove that a seller had actual knowledge of an undisclosed material defect to successfully pursue the matter in court.
The bottom line in all this is "always disclose what you know" when selling and "always get a professional home inspection" as part of the buying process.
|Share Our Post:|
About the Author
Benjamin Dona is the Broker and Owner of Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors in Bonita Springs, Florida. He holds two advanced degrees, an MBA and an MA, and has an extensive background in both business and marketing. In 1998, he founded Gulf Coast Associates, and formed a group of like-minded Realtor® associates dedicated to offering professional Southwest Florida real estate services by concentrating on information, education and the use of leading edge technologies. He also is a recognized expert on the "Net," a much-quoted and read blog author, and a contributor to both national and international news outlets. Benjamin is a member of the National Association of Realtors, the Florida Association of Realtors, and numerous local real estate boards throughout Southwest Florida.
Contact Benjamin Dona at 239-948-3955
Southwest Florida Real Estate Blog