Failure to Disclose in Residential Real Estate Contracts
What happens when you buy a home or piece of property and realize that the sellers failed to disclose an important piece of information prior to your purchase? In Missouri, silence or nondisclosure of a material fact (or a lie about a material fact) can be an act of fraud or a breach of contract in a real estate transaction, or may trigger a violation of a Missouri statute, such as the Missouri Merchandizing Purchases Act (MMPA).
Types of Real Estate Disclosures To Be Aware Of
- Anything that appears from a source outside of the property and which may disturb the property holder
- Presence of Potential Harm or Hazard
- For example, mold, chemicals, or dangerous physical conditions of the property
- Repair History of the Property
- Any repairs or improvements made (or that the Seller should be made to prevent a dangerous or costly condition) to the property, and whether those repairs or improvements were made by licensed or otherwise qualified individuals or companies
- Damages Due to Wind, Water, Trees, the Elements, or Other Accidents
- Accidents on the property due to plumbing faults, rain, flooding, tornadoes, acts of nature, or accidents involving someone’s negligence or behavior should be disclosed to Buyers
- Bankruptcy or Property Liens
- For example, pending bankruptcy or other litigation
- Information Regarding Subdivision, Condominium or Homeowners Associations
- Subdivision, Condominium and Homeowners associations indentures, declarations, bylaws and rules and regulations are binding on all residents and should be disclosed to Buyers
Whether you are the Buyer or the Seller, if you become aware that a potential issue involving false or non-disclosure of material items in the sale of your property, you should consult with an attorney to determine a proper plan of action.
If there is an opportunity to avoid litigation, that is almost always the preferred route, and we understand that litigation can be very costly. We offer a variety of payment plans and help with alternative dispute resolution services in order to help you financially, for those situations where litigation is the best or only option.