Rochester Landlord Tenant Attorney Explains The NY Property Condition Disclosure Act
- New York’s Property Disclosure Act comes into play whenever one- to four-family properties are sold. It’s a buyer beware situation, however, because the property condition disclosure form offers no warranty or guarantee and is not a substitute for inspections.
- Sellers who do not intend to provide that form to the buyer are advised to give the buyer a $500 credit – and that approach may be preferable for sellers because the form may offer a buyer more ammunition for a lawsuit.
- The property disclosure form covers certain environmental issues, such as whether the property lies within a flood plain or wetlands, if there have been landfills, storage tanks, asbestos in the structure, or lead plumbing. A comprehensive list of questions addresses such known defects as plumbing, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, fire sprinkler systems, certain pumps, foundations, floors, and so on covering all parts of the structure.
- Although the property disclosure form may have resulted in hundreds of cases, a buyer trying to recover against a seller for defective property will have to show that the defect was deliberately concealed. Such cases underscore the fact that the property disclosure form alone does not offer sufficient support for a claim and a lawsuit against the seller will probably be dismissed – even though the seller may have misrepresented something on the property disclosure form. Buyers must do their due diligence and conduct thorough inspections.
- Some states require disclosure if the property has ever been used as a meth lab, and the clean-up cost can be tens of thousands of dollars. A database tracks properties that have been identified as meth labs, and they are scattered throughout the suburbs as well as the city.