Real Estate Discloser Claims
Common Disclosure Issues and Critical Questions
Our job is to answer these questions based on the evidence and be ready to defend our opinions in mediation, arbitration, or a court of law. For us, the study of the evidence is a combination of art and science based on our skill, experience, training and education all of which we apply to helping you resolve your case.
Lack of Disclosure by the Property Owner
- Did the property owner know about the water, structural, earthquake, wind, fire, soil settlement, roof, rodent and any other type of physical damage to the building? Did the property owner do or know of improvements to the building that were done without a permit and failed to disclose it? Was it something the property owner should have known about? Or was it too technical to understand? Was the omission intentional? Was the cost of repair so great that the property owner simply wanted to dump the building? Or did not know about it because he/she never occupied the building?
Lack of Disclosure by the Real Estate Sales Person
- Was the sales person or broker aware of the items that were not disclosed? Did they disclose all the obvious and open items? Were they aware of issues affecting the neighborhood or region? Are they both the selling and buyer agents? Is the property theirs? What is their background and how much do they know about this type of construction? Have they sold this property before?
Lack of Disclosure by the Pre-Acquisition Inspector aka: Home Inspector
- Home inspectors have a narrow level of obligations. Some are very qualified to inspect structures having backgrounds as contractors, building inspectors, or engineers. Some quite frankly have no business being a home inspector with backgrounds that have no connection to the construction industry (we will let you imagine what those backgrounds might be). Very literally, anyone can call themselves a home inspector. Organizations such as creia (California real estate inspection association) and ashi (American society of home inspectors) have standards of practice. Many of the provisions within these standards are there to protect the inspector, not the property owner. Regardless, did the inspector miss an open and obvious item? Did the inspector go into the crawl space and report the wide spread water intrusion and lack of ventilation? Did the inspector go on the roof and locate several missing shingles? Did the inspector report that the building is serviced by a septic system? Did the inspector report on a hazard involving improper electrical outlets?
- The termite inspector has a crucial role in the inspection of a structure. Virtually every structure, even those that are primarily built from concrete or masonry have some wood elements in them. The pest control inspector reports on a variety of issues including insect damage (termites and others), wood rot, and rodent damage and questions often arise as to: how could that inspector miss the termite damage in the crawl space? There is wood rot under the eaves, should the inspector have caught that? There is a wasp nest in the attic, didn’t the inspector see that? What is our role in this type of case? To answer these questions and others we typically conduct a comprehensive field investigation of all the issues.At the conclusion of the inspection the attorney representing the plaintiff or defense wants to know the following:
What are the defects?
What is the cause and origin of those defects?
When were they first known? Or manifest?
Who may be responsible for disclosing those defects?
What is the scope of repair?
What is the cost of repair?