There is nothing more exciting than when you finalize the purchase of a new home and finally receive the keys to your new place. What is not so exciting is finding out a week, month or even year after you move into the new home that there is something wrong with it and that “something” is going to be expensive to fix. This is especially true if you suspect that the house’s previous owner knew about this defect and did not tell you about it.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the sale, you may have remedies available under Massachusetts state law to recover the costs of the repair, and in some circumstances, considerable monetary penalties from the party who failed to disclose the defect.
Buyer Beware: Sellers’ Duty to Disclose
Private, individual sellers of a residential property do not have a legal duty to voluntarily disclose much about their homes to potential buyers. Massachusetts law requires sellers to disclose the following:
- Whether the property has a septic tank, cesspool or other private waste disposal system and the condition of the system (these must be inspected within 2 years of selling the property or six months after the sale, if weather prevented an earlier inspection)
- Whether there is any lead paint in the home (if home was built before 1976, sellers must have it inspected for the presence of lead paint)
Aside from these items, the seller does not have to voluntarily disclose information pertaining to any other defect in the property, including water leaks, mold or termite infestation.
The key word, however, is “voluntarily.” If the buyer asks the seller about any defects in the home or any repairs that have been made or need to be made, the seller has a legal duty to truthfully and fully disclose any known defects. The seller cannot provide the buyer with half-truths, vague answers or (especially) outright lies.
However, it is important to note that sellers do not have a duty to disclose problems they may suspect, but have no knowledge about. Even so, sellers cannot actively avoid discovering a suspected problem is a real problem in order to claim ignorance of the defect.
If the seller is not truthful and the buyer relies on this information to purchase the home, the buyer may be able to bring a legal action against the seller for fraud, breach of contact and/or misrepresentation.
Chapter 93A Claims
Real estate agents, brokers and other professionals in the business of selling homes have higher disclosure duties under Massachusetts law than private sellers. Under the Consumer Protection Act — or as it is more commonly referred to, Chapter 93A — real estate professionals have a duty to voluntarily disclose “any fact the disclosure of which may influence the purchaser not to enter into the transaction.”
For example, if the seller (who is the private homeowner) reveals to his real estate agent that the roof is in bad shape and needs to be replaced, the real estate agent then … Read More
updated photograph of my art studio.
my art studio is an "organic being". it grows and changes as i continue to work.
my art studio
some thoughts about my studio to share with you all:
since i write a lot, and i enjoy getting to know flickr artists and have you know me i wanted to share my studio with you all….and…i love my studio (which i designed myself) and wanted you all to see it.
background: i have always had a studio. when i was very young i painted on the kitchen table (i’m sure we all did…and maybe still do!). in every home we’ve had, i have had a studio. in our first apartment i painted on the floor in the t.v. room. i was more "supple" then, so down on the floor worked for my knees! when we lived in italy and twice in germany our apartments were large enough for me to have my own room for making art. when neal and i first bought our house here (years ago) i was creating 2d art, mostly acrylic painting. i also was a part owner/artist in a gallery on conn. ave (in washington, dc, usa) working in stained glass. since i was cutting glass i needed a hard floor surface (easier to clean up). the downstairs of our house lent itself to this and i was happy there. then off to heidelberg, germany for 12 years. when we returned to the states i was no longer doing stained glass and david (our son) was off at college, so i turned the small upstairs bedroom into my studio and again spent many happy years in that room. but….i out grew the room! i was making many art pieces, acquiring more objects to use in my art, etc. neal and i had renovated our house twice (i did all the design) and now it was time for the third renovation…turn our huge attic, with very high ceilings, into a studio for me (by the way…we renovated another time after that…the kitchen. four renovations in all! i think we are done now).
so..back to the attic renovation: i knew exactly what i wanted……a studio that would look like a (french) artist atelier…..i did the design, found a contractor and viola! my new studio! when i look at it (it stretches across the entire house) i am amazed that i was able to work in the small room below. i removed the ceiling in the small bedroom…now i have a wide open space in part of my studio which affords me access to the window below (since i do not work from nature natural sunlight is not that important to me, but i do like to be able to see the beautiful maple tree that is outside the window. i used the framing for the original attic stairs and made a glass block floor…now i can see down below and light filters up into my studio. the cat was very cautious … Read More