Real Estate Sellers Beware!

Anyone selling a residence on or after August 31, 1996, in Pennsylvania must be aware of the new Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act. The Act requires a seller to disclose problems which may exist regarding, among others, the roof, basement (wetness), termites, structural elements, on-site water (wells) and sewage disposal (cesspool, septic tank) systems, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, electrical, any mechanical system in the house (including appliances), soil contamination, and lot line encroachments. There is a detailed form to be completed at the time of signing an agreement of sale.

While disclosure under the Act is mandatory, prior law required disclosure of defects affecting habitability and safety in any event; the Legislature has merely expanded the range of items which must be disclosed to a prospective buyer.

The Act is new and penalties for failure to comply are somewhat ambiguous; however, the buyer may recover actual and possibly punitive damages for failure to comply. Any questions?

– Ken Butera

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