Purchasing a home is an enormous investment that involves a lot of risk. Florida state law protects the interests of buyers by requiring sellers to disclose certain conditions that exist on the property. If you’re getting ready to sell your home, you might wonder which conditions qualify as mandatory disclosures under the law.
What you must disclose
Disclosure requirements exist to protect buyers from unjust situations such as a seller who conceals costly damage to a home. That way, a buyer will not invest hundreds of thousands of dollars only to be stuck with a problem that they did not bargain for, and that they will only discover after signing the contract.
Florida law is very specific as to disclosure requirements for a seller of residential real estate. These requirements come from both statutes and case law. Essentially, if something has a severe effect on the property’s value, and someone wouldn’t normally be aware of it just by doing a basic examination of the house, you have a duty to disclose it.
For example, if you know that a cabinet sticks in the kitchen or a rain gutter is coming loose, you probably don’t have to disclose it. Those types of things won’t have a tremendous effect on the value of the house since they’re easy and inexpensive to fix. But if you know that there is a problem with the foundation, or that there is black mold throughout the ceiling due to water damage, these are likely the type of thing that would greatly devalue the house – and thus you must disclose them.
Unlike in some states, in Florida you do not have to disclose to the buyer if someone was killed or committed suicide on your property. You also do not have to disclose if a former resident was HIV positive.
Selling residential real estate can be a complex and lengthy process. Knowing what the law requires of you before you put your home on the market can help you to avoid a potentially costly lawsuit down the road.