You open your email, scroll through the disclosures, and see, “Leak fixed under bathroom sink in 2015,…”. Uh Oh, now what? Before your deal goes sideways it is important to know what your responsibilities are as an agent, your rights as a buyer, and your exposure as the seller of property when conditions for potential mold growth (i.e. water damage) has been disclosed.
California State Law has been notoriously vague when it comes to real estate and mold, but real estate law, in response to actions by the California Department of Real Estate, has held up that all KNOWN environmental hazards be disclosed during the transaction. Failure to do so can lead to civil and criminal liability.
Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)
A California seller of residential real property consisting of 1 to 4 dwelling units (with a few exceptions) must give the buyer a Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). The statement must specify environmental hazards of which the seller is aware (e.g., asbestos, radon gas, lead-based paint, formaldehyde, fuel or chemical storage tanks, contaminated soil or water, etc.). The seller or the seller’s agent(s) may give the buyer of real property subject to Section 1102 of the Civil Code or of any other real property, including manufactured housing as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code, a pamphlet entitled, “Environmental Hazards: A Guide for Homeowners, Buyers, Landlords, and Tenants.” If the buyer receives the pamphlet, neither the seller nor any agent in the transaction is required to furnish more information concerning such hazards, unless the seller or the agent(s) has/have actual knowledge of the existence of an environmental hazard on or affecting the property.
The TDS references past water damage (or asbestos, or lead) …now what?
So now you have the disclosure, is the seller off the hook? Absolutely not, the TDS does not mandate, but references, that both the Buyer and Seller may seek out “Professional Advise and/or Inspections” in response to these disclosures. It is imperative that any Buyer take advantage of that provision and request an independent Mold, Bacteria, Asbestos or Lead inspection to determine the condition and potential costs of remediation and abatement if necessary (HINT: Call Us for Help!).
For more information, or to schedule a Mold, Lead-Based Paint Inspection, Radon or Asbestos Inspection in Santa Clarita, the Antelope Valley, Ventura County, or Greater Los Angeles area you can submit an online request, call us (661) 219-5160 or email request to [email protected]