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NONDISCLOSURE ARTICLES

Reducing Claim to $3,500 – "Judge Judy" Small Claims Court

By Christopher Combs | November 13, 2017

Reducing Claim to $3,500 – “Judge Judy” Small Claims Court   Question: When we purchased our home in Apache Junction six months ago, the seller said in the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (“SPDS”) that there had been no roof problems. After the first monsoon rain we had significant water damage in our master bedroom due to a roof leak that we paid $4,800 to repair. Our roof repairman said that there had been prior roof repairs in the same location on the roof. In addition, our neighbor said that the seller had constantly complained about roof problems. After using all of our money…

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Can a seller disclose that senior citizens live next door?

By Christopher Combs | July 2, 2017

Can a seller disclose to a buyer that senior citizens live next door?   Question:  We want to sell our Glendale home. Our next-door neighbor has an assisted living facility for six to eight senior citizens. My understanding is that the Fair Housing Act does not prohibit discrimination based on age. If we are asked by a buyer, “Who is the next-door neighbor?” are we allowed to say that it is an assisted living facility for six to eight senior citizens?   Answer:  Probably not. Fair housing protection generally applies to senior citizens living in an assisted living facility. Not…

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Correct Answer for Agents if Asked About Sex Offenders

By Christopher Combs | May 28, 2017

Correct Answer for Real Estate Agents if Asked About Sex Offenders   Question:  I know that there was a major lawsuit involving non-disclosure of a sex offender in the Silverleaf community of north Scottsdale. I own a small brokerage firm with several agents. I tell my agents that, if they are asked about sex offenders in the community, they cannot disclose any such knowledge without the consent of the seller, but they cannot lie. In other words, if the agent knows that there is a sex offender in the community, the agent can say “I am not obligated to disclose…

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Seller Must Disclose Roof Rats Even if Exterminated

By Christopher Combs | April 16, 2017

Seller Must Disclose Roof Rats Even if Exterminated   Question:  My husband and I will be listing our home in the next three months. We recently had a home inspection done so that we would have the time to repair any major problems before listing our home. The home inspection report found evidence of roof rats. We hired a local pest control company to exterminate the roof rats, and this pest control company has certified that all roof rats have been removed.  The orange trees that were the problem have been cut down. When we list the home do we…

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‘As Is’ Agreement Doesn’t Protect Seller Hiding Knowledge of Defect

By Christopher Combs | January 9, 2017

 ‘As Is’ Agreement Doesn’t Protect Seller Hiding Knowledge of Defect   Question: We purchased a home in Tempe from a cantankerous old man who would only sell his Tempe home “as is.” Although we did a thorough inspection we failed to discover until two months after close of escrow that tree roots had partially obstructed our sewer line. The cost to repair the sewer line will be at least $2,500. The plumbing contractor that we are hiring to do the repairs said that the seller must have known of this problem with the sewer line. Did we waive any claim…

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Group Homes Protected Under Fair Housing

By Christopher Combs | December 9, 2016

Group Homes Protected Under Fair Housing   Question: We live in McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale next to a group home for eight elderly adults. We want to sell our home. Our real estate agent says that Fair Housing laws prohibit age discrimination, and therefore we are not allowed to disclose this group home to a buyer in the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. What happens, however, if we are specifically asked who lives next door by the buyer, the buyer’s agent, or even the buyer’s termite inspector? What do we say?   Answer: The state and federal Fair Housing Acts (“Acts”) do not…

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Disclosure of a Neighbor Arrested for Sex Offense

By Christopher Combs | October 28, 2016

Disclosure of a Neighbor Arrested for Sex Offense   Question: In a recent column you said that a seller of a home in Scottsdale did not have to disclose to the buyer that the next door neighbor’s 15-year-old son had been arrested for molesting a 12-year-old girl. Under the standard real estate contract in Arizona a buyer is advised to go online to the public registry for sex offenders to see if there are any sex offenders in the community. Why does the seller have to disclose anything to the buyer if the buyer has been informed in writing of the…

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Seller’s Fraud by Failure to Disclose "Trumps" Buyer’s Negligence

By Christopher Combs | September 27, 2016

Question: We owned a home in Phoenix for 12 years. When we listed our home for sale, my wife with the help of our real estate agent completed the seller’s property disclosure statement (“SPDS”). I just signed the SPDS one night when I came home from work. Although we had done several repairs to the roof, my wife forgot about these roof repairs when she filled out the SPDS. We sold the home 3 months ago. We received a letter from the buyer’s attorney this week saying that the buyer has had major problems with the roof. The buyer’s attorney…

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