You spent months searching for your dream home in New York. Finally, your efforts paid off, and you’ve acquired a property that checks all the boxes.
Soon after you move in, you start making improvements and renovations. However, these come to an immediate halt. The contractors you employed have informed you that they have to stop working, as the environment is unsafe. They’ve uncovered asbestos in the pipes, walls and other areas of your house.
You’re baffled by this, as nothing came up in your pre-purchase reports. The seller didn’t mention anything in their disclosures. If the seller knew, were they legally obliged to inform you?
Disclosure law in New York
The Property Condition Disclosure Act requires sellers of real estate in New York to disclose pertinent information to prospective buyers.
Buyers should have access to general information about the property, such as previous ownership, the age of the building and access and possession rights. Buyers are also entitled to receive information about the water quality in the area, sewage systems and the extent of flood defenses. Information should also be disclosed relating to the structural integrity of the property, fire risks and the condition of the roof.
Buyers are also entitled to be made aware of any environmental hazards. For instance, does the house contain lead pipes? Are there any hazardous areas nearby, such as landfill sites or chemical plants? Environmental factors also extend to the presence of asbestos. Buyers should be made fully aware of an asbestos presence before the time of closing.
Sellers of real estate have an ethical and legal duty to disclose potential defects with their property. If you believe that you have been let down in this area, make sure you check out your legal options.