Minnesota law requires that all sellers of residential property disclose to prospective buyers all “material facts” that could affect a buyer’s use and enjoyment of the property. Minnesota law also requires that real estate salespeople disclose to buyers material information that they may know about the property. The failure to make these required disclosures can result in liability.
Obligations of Sellers
Sellers of residential real estate are required to make certain disclosures whenever they sell or transfer any interest in residential property. The disclosure must be made before signing any agreement to sell or transfer the property, and must include “all material facts of which the seller is aware that could adversely and significantly affect:
(1) an ordinary buyer’s use and enjoyment of the property; or
(2) an intended use of the property of which the seller is aware”
Depending on the circumstances, “material facts” requiring disclosure might include existing damage to the property, a history of damage such as prior water intrusion problems, construction defects, failed mechanical systems, or problems relating to the land surrounding the property.
There are a number of statutory exceptions to this requirement, the most notable of which is that the disclosure is not required for newly constructed residential property that has not been inhabited. Buyers of new residential construction are protected by different laws, including Minnesota’s new home warranty statute. Other exceptions are listed at Minnesota Statute § 513.54 and § 513.56.
Obligation of Real Estate Salesperson or Broker
A real estate salesperson licensed in Minnesota is required to disclose to a prospective buyer “all material facts of which the licensee is aware, which could adversely and significantly affect an ordinary purchaser’s use or enjoyment of the property, or any intended use of the property of which the licensee is aware.”
Disclosure Obligation Limited By Inspection Report
The disclosure obligations for both sellers and licensed real estate salespeople are limited, however, in the event that a buyer has a professional inspection of the property performed. In that case, the seller and salesperson are not obligated to repeat information that is disclosed in the buyer’s property inspection report. However, the seller and salesperson must still disclose any material facts that they know of that contradict any information in the inspection report.
Liability For Failing To Disclose
A seller or real estate salesperson can be held liable for failing to make required disclosures. However, the time to bring a lawsuit or commence arbitration may be limited under Minnesota law or by the contract between the buyer and seller. Therefore, any buyer who believes that they are the victim of a failure to disclose should consult with an attorney immediately.
The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Each situation is unique and the application of Minnesota law depends on the specific circumstances of each case.