If you are planning to sell your New York home, it is crucial that you understand the state’s evolving laws on disclosure statements. Disclosure statements are meant to protect buyers from unknowingly investing in homes that have defects. They can also save sellers from potential legal battles down the road.
New York State has multiple laws that hold home sellers responsible for the disclosures they make during the sale process. Here are some of the mandatory disclosures that you must make when selling a home in New York.
General property defect disclosure
You are required to disclose any known defects on the house to the buyer during the sale process. Knowingly make false claims or omitting material facts about possible defects can result in liability for damages if such omission or misinformation influences the buyer’s purchase decision.
Even if the buyer does not ask for the information, the seller is required by law to disclose it. The general disclosure statement as required by the Property Condition Disclosure Act (PCDA) must, among others, address the following:
- Structural information such as roof condition as well as whether there is any fire, smoke, insect or water damage to the home
- Information on the home’s age and ownership history
- Information on mechanical systems and services like drainage, water source and utilities.
Additional lead disclosures
Besides the general property defect disclosure, federal law also requires home sellers to make a disclosure regarding lead paint. Specifically, you are required to comply with the 1992 Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act if you are selling a home that was built before 1978. According to this Act, the seller must:
- Provide the buyer with a designated EPA pamphlet
- Disclose any known lead-based paint and hazards in the home
- Allow the buyer to test the property for lead
- Include a warning clause in the sale contract and provide signed statements to the transaction ascertaining that the proscribed requirements were indeed met.
Selling a home in New York can be a complex process. To ensure a smooth transaction while avoiding potential liabilities, it is important that you follow every step to the letter. Implementing the mandatory disclosures when selling a home in New York State can make the process easy while eliminating unpleasant and costly surprises down the road.