What Are You Legally Obligated to Disclose to the Buyer of Your Home in Florida?

When you decide to sell your property in Florida, there is a lot more involved than putting up a “For Sale” sign on your lawn and waiting for a buyer. As part of the real estate transaction, you must disclose certain details about your property to ensure that the potential buyer knows what to expect.

Unethical as it may be, some sellers knowingly omit details for any number of reasons. The unfortunate thing is that these details might result in thousands of dollars in unexpected costs for the buyer down the line. As a matter of public policy, Florida law seeks to prevent this from happening. As a result, there are a number of items that Florida law requires a seller to disclose to buyers.

The seller must disclose any known defects in the building that could result in costly repairs for the buyer. These defects could include water leaks and damage, the presence of asbestos insulation, electrical wiring problems, lead, or mold. Issues involving insect infestations, such as termites, must also be disclosed. You will also need to disclose if there are any outstanding issues with regard to the title of the home or property.

If the property is in a community that is part of a homeowner’s association, the seller must also disclose details regarding the association such as specific fees and assessments. If these disclosures are not made the buyer may have the right to void a purchase contract which may otherwise be enforceable.

Similarly, If the property is a condominium sellers must disclose details of the association and provide documentation to the buyer such as the including the declor regarding the unit such as your right to view the property management contracts, proof of unit ownership, and whether it is part of a timeshare. The law allows that if these disclosures are not made IN WRITING, and uses very specific language, the buyer can void the contract. It also provides for a 3-day window from the date that the documents are delivered to rescind the transaction.

Florida statute 404.056(5) also states that a warning regarding the possible presence of the naturally occurring gas, radon, be included on at least one of the documents, forms or applications for the sale or rental of a building. The law states that the warning must include the following text:

RADON GAS: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, when it has accumulated in a building in sufficient quantities, may present health risks to persons who are exposed to it over time. Levels of radon that exceed federal and state guidelines have been found in buildings in Florida. Additional information regarding radon and radon testing may be obtained from your county health department.

With so much of the state of Florida being bound by water, erosion is a possible threat. For that reason, anyone selling property that is either partially or totally facing the construction control line as defined in section 161.053 must provide an affidavit or survey that meets the chapter 472 requirements which indicates the coastal control line for that property.

While these laws don’t remove the buyer’s responsibilities in doing their own research and due diligence, it is important to understand that if any of these details are omitted or falsely disclosed, the result could be a lengthy and very costly legal battle. In that case, it could ultimately be decided in court as to who should be responsible for any costs incurred (both for repairs and legal costs).

The best way to avoid these unintended and undesirable outcomes is to get the guidance of an attorney who is experienced in the different nuances of Florida real estate law. Contact the Law Office of Enrique J. Fernandez, P.A. at (305) 226-4529 or click here and get our team working with you to make your property sale as smooth and painless as possible.

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The Law Offices of Enrique J. Fernandez, P.A.

Enrique J. Fernandez is a trusted real estate attorney and title agent serving the people of Miami, Florida and the surrounding areas. If you or one of your clients is looking to buy or sell real estate, we are here to help ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible throughout the entire process.

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