Buying a home is part of the American dream. You not only provide yourself and your family a place to live and grow, but you also build equity and acquire what’s likely to be the most high-value asset of your lifetime. It’s important to be thorough in the homebuying process, but thankfully there are laws in the state of Oklahoma aimed at protecting your money and your home.
Mandatory disclosures set forth by statutes in the Sooner State provide a baseline for what must be disclosed to potential buyers before a home can be sold. This protects you from unknown and unwanted issues down the road that you otherwise would have no way of knowing.
For residential properties, the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act (RCPD) is a set of statutes that lays out exactly what sellers must disclose before a sale. We want to explore those statutes and help you understand the disclosure statement required under Oklahoma law.
What is a Disclosure Statement?
The RCPD specifically outlines a number of mandatory disclosures for sellers to provide to potential buyers prior to purchase through a disclosure statement. This statement is a written property condition disclosure that includes the identification of items and improvements included in the sale and defects or information in relation to:
- Water and sewer systems (i.e. household water, water treatment, water heating, sprinklers, etc.)
- Structural elements (i.e. roofing, walls, floors, foundation)
- Plumbing, electrical, heating, and air conditioning
- Infestation or damage of wood-destroying organisms
- Major fire or tornado damage
- Land use matters
- Presence of hazardous or regulated materials with an environmental impact
- Existence of any prior manufacturing of methamphetamine on the property
- Any other defects known to the seller
A “defect” is defined as “a condition, malfunction or problem that would have a materially adverse effect on the monetary value of the property, or that would impair the health or safety of future occupants of the property.”
The set of statutes in the RCPD requires disclosures “prior to acceptance of an offer to purchase.” It’s vital that these disclosures take place early in the process so a potential buyer isn’t missing out on other opportunities and does not put money into the potential purchase before learning of uncovered issues.
Recourse for Errors or Omissions
Errors or omissions to the disclosure statement may result in civil litigation against the seller and any parties involved in the error or omission (including real estate agents or prior owners who provided false information).
Actual damages are eligible to be recovered, including the cost of repairs to the defect as well as any associated costs for harm done to individuals on the property. A civil action must be filed within two years of the transfer of the property.
Can a Disclaimer Take the Place of a Disclosure Statement?
A disclaimer statement is allowed if the seller has never occupied the property and has no actual knowledge of any defects. This, however, creates a slippery slope. If a buyer purchases a home after the seller claims no knowledge of defects, any apparent and potentially harmful defect could lead to litigation and significant recourse.
Did Your Seller Fail to Provide the Mandatory Disclosures?
If your seller did not fulfill the obligations set out by the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act, we’re here to help. Our team will work hard to ensure you, your family, and your money are protected. Contact HB Law Partners if civil action is necessary to recover your money due to the failure of a seller.
HB Law Partners
Latest posts by HB Law Partners (see all)
- Home Buyers Beware: New Construction is Not Exempt from Problems. - November 15, 2023