There are an increasing number of mandatory disclosure obligations placed on those who sell Florida real estate and it’s hard to keep up with all the new requirements.
Here are a summary of disclosures required for Florida residential transactions units. Many of the following disclosures are required on commercial transactions. Local residential disclosures may exist so it is always prudent to inquire about such requirements before escrow closes.
The Top Real Estate Claim
The No. 1 claim on Errors & Omissions Insurance is “failure to disclose” an item that a buyer felt was material. There are some general guidelines to help protect against non-disclosure liability lawsuits. Part of this is ensuring that all real estate documents are reviewed by an attorney before signature. A key factor is to ensure that all disclosures are in writing and which have acknowledgment signatures.
Disclosures That Are Required
TDS (Transfer Disclosure Statement)
This law requires sellers to give prospective buyers a written disclosure statement of items including possible easements, neighborhood issues, appliances, structural defects, modifications, and other material defects that may affect the principal’s decision in a transaction.
Natural Hazards Disclosure Law
The Natural Hazards Disclosure law requires the seller or seller’s agent to disclose property that is located in the following zones:
- Flood Hazard Zones
Areas subject to unusual flood risks
- Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones
Areas where property owners may be obligated to undertake specific maintenance duties
- Wildland Fire Areas
Areas wherein the state has responsibility for fire suppression
Lead Paint Disclosures
The law requires both sellers and lessors to disclose known lead hazards by providing an informational booklet and a disclosure form as addenda to the purchase contract or lease. The federal lead paint disclosures apply to leases and sales of residential property, including mobile homes, constructed before 1978.
Megan’s Law was established to notify buyers and tenants of the proximity of registered offenders and requires every purchase contract and lease agreement to have a specific written notice that a database containing information about registered sex offenders may be accessed by buyers and tenants. This disclosure is required for every lease or real property sales contract for residential real property entered into on or after July 1, 1999.
Disclosures involving the location and proximity of any military ordnance sites.
Known Hazardous Substances on the Property
State law requires that disclosure of known environmental contamination or hazards on a subject property be made to prospective Buyers. Environmental contamination could be a private underground fuel or heating oil tank that has leaked.
Neighborhood Environmental Contamination
Disclosing environmental information that’s reasonably available today acknowledges that buyers may have questions over the uncertainties environmental contamination issues present. The potential for hazardous substance contaminated sites in the vicinity of residential property could be anything from a local gasoline station with a leaking underground fuel tank to an industrial site.
Don’t sign a real estate document without having consulted with an attorney. Consult with Lanigan and Lanigan. Winter Park real estate attorneys Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan have handled individual and company cases in residential and commercial real estate litigation representing and defending homeowners, property owners and investors, realtors, mortgage companies, appraisers, construction companies, and many contractors within real estate.