Greatest hits: Your legal hotline questions answered

By James L. Goldsmith, Esq.

The legal hotline is a great asset for PAR members to receive free legal advice. Over the years, we have received many types of questions, and here are three, along with their answers, that may benefit you.

Q. The sellers are mother and daughter. The daughter never lived in the property despite her having a one-half interest in it. Does she have to complete a seller disclosure?

A. Yes. She must sign the disclosure with her mother, or complete her own. As is stated in the Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law: "Any seller who intends to transfer any interest in real property shall disclose to the buyer and material defects with the property known to the seller by completing all applicable items in a property disclosure statement which satisfies the requirements of Section 7304 (relating to disclosure form)." Enough said.

Q. I've listed a property that is zoned high-density commercial. Do I need a seller disclosure form?

A. I don't know! Everything posed in the question is of no consequence. Are there any dwelling units to be sold with the property? The requirement to provide a seller's property disclosure statement is imposed on property that "consists of not less than one nor more than four residential dwelling units."

Q. The multi-list description said that the seller would provide a home warranty. After settlement, my buyer remembered that no home warranty was provided. My buyer is entitled to the warranty, right?

A. Probably, and if so, you will buy it! The integration clause of our standard agreement provides that all terms and conditions are stated in the agreement and that the buyer may not rely on representations, brochures, statements, etc. that are not included in the agreement. The multi-list description is not an agreement and while the listing agreement may have provided that the seller would offer a home warranty, the listing agreement is not binding on the buyer. Reference to the home warranty in the MLS and the listing agreement establish, at the least, that the seller was willing to entertain providing one at seller's cost (presumably or possibly based on the eventual purchase price). Why did the buyer agent fail to negotiate for its inclusion or at least remind the seller what was promised in those documents and perhaps in the marketing materials?