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Does a home seller have to disclose a fire?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Real estate transactions

Home sellers have to disclose to buyers any issues they know of with the home. This could include damage that has occurred in the past. Perhaps there was a house fire that caused extensive damage. They cannot hide this from someone who is looking to buy the house.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have to disclose a fire in all situations. For instance, perhaps the damage was extensive, so they had a builder come in and take the home back down to the studs. Everything was then fixed, including building out the walls and replacing the plumbing, the electrical systems and more. Essentially, the home is brand new. There’s no more fire damage that needs to be disclosed.

However, many house fires often just lead to on-site repairs rather than a complete rebuild. In a situation like that, it would be wise for the seller to disclose that the fire occurred. After all, there still could be damage that is hidden within the walls, such as beams that have been weakened or electrical systems that are damaged and could cause a subsequent fire. Sellers want to make sure that they give buyers the proper information to make a wise decision.

What if damage was hidden?

If disclosures about damage to the home were either intentionally not made or if damage was hidden on purpose, it can lead to a lot of legal complications. For one thing, the home may not be worth the amount that the buyer is paying for it. For another, the buyer may be in danger if there are still risk factors within the house.

A situation like this could lead to litigation. All parties involved need to make sure that they understand exactly what legal steps they may need to take and what rights they have.