Sellers of homes have an obligation to disclose known defects

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2021 | Real estate litigation |

Like other states, Ohio requires most sellers of family homes to fill out what Ohio calls a Residential Property Disclosure Form.

This Form requires the seller, and specifically not just the seller’s real estate agent, to provide information about the property that they are selling.

The information includes disclosure of certain possible problems with the property, such as sewage issues, water leaks and structural problems.

The Form also requires the sellers to report about any hazardous chemicals on the property and about any problems with the mechanical systems of the home, like the air conditioner or even the built-in sprinkler.

Finally, the Form requires sellers to disclose any known title defects or other problems that can diminish the real estate’s value, such as a lien or a zoning issue.

The Residential Property Disclosure Form offers some protection to buyers

This Form offer some important information to buyers. Depending on what it says, a buyer may decide to back out of the deal.

Moreover, if a seller actually knows about a defect and then does not disclose it, then the seller can be held accountable in litigation.

While helpful, this legal bar can be a high one to cross. Sellers are expected to know only what an average person living in a house would know about the property’s condition. The Form itself also says it is no substitute for a thorough home inspection.  In short, a buyer is under no obligation to give a warranty or even thoroughly to check over a home before completing the form.

Still, while buyers have the obligation to do their own research and make their own decisions about a home, sellers are not allowed to lie when completing the Form.