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What are Undisclosed, or Latent, Home Defects?

What are Undisclosed, or Latent, Home Defects?

Purchasing a house is one of life’s great milestones. There is nothing like making a place your own and turning a house into a home. Unfortunately, however, not every home purchase is a fairy tale story. Undisclosed, or latent, home defects can lurk beneath the surface and cause serious stress and financial harm to the new owners. These defects can threaten the structural integrity of the home, and may even be hazardous to the health of the new homeowners. Read on to find out everything you need to know about undisclosed home defects:

Undisclosed Home Defects

Undisclosed home defects are flaws in resale homes that could not reasonably be known by the buyers, even after inspection. Also known as latent or hidden defects, these problems become a legal issue when they are knowingly undisclosed by sellers, home inspectors, or real estate agents. The negligence in failing to disclose the defects can cause the new homeowners serious financial distress that they could not have predicted. They can also compromise the structural integrity of the home or even put the health and safety of the residents at risk. If your resale home has any issues with undisclosed defects and a negligent party is to blame, you should consult a lawyer immediately to seek a legal remedy.

Patent vs. Latent Defects

Undisclosed home defects are things that are deliberately left unmentioned by the seller or another negligent party in the real estate transaction process. If you could reasonably notice the flaw by walking through the home or upon inspection, it is known as a patent defect. Following the principle of caveat emptor (“buyer beware”), it is not likely to be legally recoverable. For example, a giant hole in the wall that is plainly visible to all is a patent defect. A latent defect, on the other hand, is not discoverable to the buyer. If known by the seller and left unmentioned, these latent defects could be cause for legal action down the road.

Examples of Undisclosed Home Defects

Undisclosed home defects may include foundation cracks or a leaky roof. Moisture or mould in the ceilings or walls that could not easily be discovered can lead to health problems for residents. Wiring that is not up to code could pose a fire hazard, and defects that compromise the structural integrity of the home, like rotted wood beams, could put the entire family in harm’s way.

If you discover undisclosed home defects in your resale home, schedule a free consultation with a lawyer immediately. If there was negligence or dishonesty by the home seller, or other involved party, you might be entitled to compensation.

1 Comment

Mariaan Snyman
March 10, 2024 @ 21:34

Good morning I brought a property 20 months ago. It was a cash voetstoots purchase via Property 24 and Rita Smith Estate Agent in Henneman. What was advertised and what was found are almost two different properties. Due to my disability I did not personally viewed the property. I relied on the Estate Agent for guidance. On confronting her she shook it off and basically blamed me for not viewing the place and buying it cash and voetstoots. I have started reparations on the property yet are discovering more and more damages. Today was the final blow when the passage ceiling gave way, pieces of concrete and bricks landed on my right shoulder and back. I have previously contacted the Estate Agent Ombudsman, Various Attorneys as well as other Estate Agents for guidance. None of them even after emails with supporting photographs gave me the time of day. I have also applied for Pro Bono assistants from an Attorney in Welkom, yet apparently was rejected I really do not know what to do anymore and fear for the safety of my elderly mother and my teenage son. I am at my witts end. Your guidance in this matter will be appreciated. Regards Mariaan


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