The Jensen Litigation Firm, PLLC represents entities and individuals in home disclosure disputes. Buyers and sellers hire us to figure out if the property disclosures were sufficient, and to enforce their rights in litigation or arbitration. If you need an attorney in a dispute over seller disclosures, we can help. Contact us now to enforce your rights as a buyer or seller.
What are Seller's Disclosures in Minnesota real estate sales?
One of the most important aspects of a sale are the Seller's Disclosures, which are required under Minn. Stat. §§ 513.52-.61. This gives the buyer important information about the home and structures.
The general rule under Minn. Stat. § 513.55, subd. 1 is that sellers must disclose material facts they are aware of that could adversely and significantly affect an ordinary buyer's use and enjoyment or an intended use of the property of which the seller is aware. The seller must do this in good faith and based upon his or her knowledge.
Does a Home Inspection Report impact a seller's liability for non-disclosure?
Minn. Stat. § 513.56, subd. 3 indicates that a home inspection from a “qualified third party” may relieve the seller of some liability if the report discloses the information in dispute. But if the buyer provides the report to the seller, the seller must disclose known material facts that contradict the report.
This may be a way for a buyer to get specific feedback from the seller and push the burden on the seller to make further disclosures or corrections.
What liability does a seller have for disclosures in Minnesota?
Minn. Stat. § 513.57 discusses liability of the seller. Generally, a seller is not liable for error, inaccuracy, or omission if it was due to lack of personal knowledge or was from the buyer's inspection report, so long as the seller used ordinary care.
Also, a seller is not liable for failing to disclose information that could only be obtained from an inspection or from inaccessible portions of the home, or discovered only by a person scientific or trade expertise beyond the seller's knowledge. However, a seller may be liable by failing to make a disclosure if he or she was aware of material facts pertaining to the real property.
A buyer must bring a non-disclosure action within two years of the sale closing.
As you can see, these statutes have many overlapping rules. When in doubt, a seller and seller's realtor should err on the side of caution and disclose any issues that could be problematic.
What other claims can buyers bring against sellers in non-disclosure cases?
In addition to a non-disclosure claim, a buyer may also bring claims against the seller for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and other claims. Again, it is important for the seller to closely complete the disclosure forms and the purchase agreement. Otherwise, he or she could have a big problem after closing.
Why is it important to hire an attorney for non-disclosure issues?
It is important to develop your claims and understand your legal rights before taking action. Whether or not the seller has to disclose issues is fact-specific, dependent on statutes, and sometimes challenging to determine.
We have the knowledge and experience to handle home disclosure disputes. Do not hesitate to contact us if:
- You are in the process of buying or selling a home and are experiencing disclosure issues.
- You recently bought a home and discovered significant issues that were not disclosed by the seller.
- You recently sold a home and have received notice of a non-disclosure claim from the buyer or have been sued.