A seller of real property is not the only one obligated to disclose facts about real estate. Real estate agents are also obligated to disclose to a prospective buyer information about the real estate.
Minnesota’s Real Estate Agent Disclosure Law
Minnesota Statute 82.68, Subd. 3 provides that:
A licensee shall disclose to a prospective purchaser 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.
Minnesota law provides, however, that certain categories of facts are immaterial, and therefore, do not have to be disclosed. Those include:
- That the prior owner or occupant was infected with HIV or AIDS;
- That the home was the site of a suicide, accidental death, natural death, or perceived paranormal activity;
- That the home is in a neighborhood with an adult family home or community-based residential facility or nursing home.
Also, the real estate agent does not need to disclose information about the property that is disclosed in a written report prepared by the buyer’s own inspector.
How To Prove A Real Estate Agent Failed To Disclosure
To hold a real estate agent liable for non-disclosure, there must be evidence to prove that the agent knew about a material fact concerning the home or property. There are several ways that real estate agents commonly learn information about a property:
- Real estate agents often learn about problems with a property from a seller. If neither the seller nor the agent disclose the information, both can be held liable.
- Real estate agents sometimes learn about problems with a property from conversations with neighbors. It is not uncommon for neighbors to offer unsolicited information to real estate agents. If there is a problem with a recently-purchased home, it is worth asking neighbors whether they knew about the issue, and whether they spoke to the real estate agent about it before the sale.
- Real estate agents are often very familiar with particular neighborhoods, and acquire a historical knowledge of problems with properties. Sometimes agents even list a property for sale on multiple occasions.
Any buyer who believes that they are the victim of a failure to disclose should consult with an attorney immediately. The time to pursue a claim may be limited by state law or by the terms of any agreements between the parties.
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.