“Congratulations. You are now the proud owner of a property contaminated with deadly waste, prone to destruction in a flash flood and haunted due to a triple murder that took place there. By the way, don’t go into the attic as it is filled with asbestos.”
That’s not what you want to hear when you have just signed for a piece of real estate. Neither should you have to. While you need to do adequate research and get thorough surveys before you buy, the seller also has a responsibility to point some things out.
Here are some of the things sellers must disclose in the Arizona property disclosure form:
- Environmental hazards: For example, toxic substances in the ground or building and risks from natural disasters.
- Title issues: For instance, if someone holds an easement giving access across the property.
- Zoning issues: If you wish to open a bar and the previous owner was turned down for zoning reasons, they must tell you.
- Legal issues: Some people think the way to escape a legal problem is to sell up, so it becomes someone else’s problem. If the owner is in dispute with a neighbor, tenant, or another party, they must clarify that.
Sellers do not have to disclose everything
The seller is under no obligation to tell you about the triple murder or the ghosts. But they cannot lie either. If you ask them something about the property, and they deny it, or pretend they do not know, you could pursue them for intentional misrepresentation.
Getting legal help before you agree to buy real estate can help you ensure you have a complete picture of the property. If you only discover issues afterward, you may still be able to resolve them with legal help.