Does a seller have to disclose that the air conditioner doesn’t work or the roof is bad?
Yes. If they know about it.Sellers in Florida are required to disclose any “latent” defects that would affect the value of the house.
In other words, a seller has to disclose a defect that they know about, that you can’t readily see with the naked eye, and that would affect the value of the house.
This gets tricky when an air conditioner isn’t working or the roof is bad.
You can’t see if an air conditioner is bad.
But you can turn it on to check it out, and so can your inspector. Even if the power is off you can have the power turned on to check it out.
Now, how do you know when an air conditioner doesn’t work? The answer: when it doesn’t turn on one morning.
Like water heaters that break down, one day your a/c will be working and one day it won’t, and most of the time it doesn’t give any warning.
So if you do buy a house and the a/c isn’t working, can you prove that the seller knew it didn’t work? And how do you know it didn’t just happen?
It’s similar with a roof.
If the roof leaks and the seller knows it, the seller has to disclose that to you. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that the roof is “bad.” It just means that the roof leaks.
And if the roof used to leak and the seller fixed it, and it doesn’t leak anymore, does the seller have to live with that and disclose it forever?
For the seller, the best bet is to disclose if there is any question at all, just to avoid future liability.
And for a buyer, understand that you will have a hard time proving that the seller knew anything after the fact. Pick a great inspector and go over the house with a fine-tooth comb, and don’t be afraid to ask the seller hard questions for the record.
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