Property disclosures after a nearby disaster

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Real Estate

Disasters are the worst because they can affect anyone and happen at any time. There is no way for property owners to predict catastrophes and stop them from happening. However, owners or sellers must disclose vital disaster-related information about their property.

In general, the law has no provisions imposing property sellers to include nearby disasters in disclosures. However, they must do so if the event caused a material defect. It means the catastrophe led to lasting effects that could adversely impact or cause unreasonable risk to the property’s residents.

These defects could include the following:

  • Property damage due to extreme weather occurrences, such as tornadoes or earthquakes
  • Contaminated water
  • Hazardous substances in the soil or air
  • Other environmental factors
  • Results of any tests done on the property to trace hazardous substances

Sometimes, federal or private entities could run tests, proving the area’s safety. Sellers might feel that disclosing these tests are unnecessary because the results are favorable.

However, they must still include this information in the property disclosures. The Seller’s Property Disclosure (SPD) form should have spaces to help indicate these details.

Sellers are responsible for updating disclosures

Disasters could affect a wide area without anyone realizing it. As sellers verify changes caused by a catastrophe, they should update their disclosures using the appropriate addendum form. Doing so could help maintain the accuracy of the property details and notify buyers about the changes.

Additionally, failing to disclose these details could cause trouble for the seller later in the transaction. If buyers discover these issues left out from the disclosure, they might feel wronged.

Accurate information could be helpful

When it comes to real estate, providing accurate information could be the best course of action. Buyers could trust a seller more if they are transparent about facts related to the property. Doing so could also guide buyers to do their due diligence before finalizing a purchase.

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