What Is A Latent Defect?

A latent defect is one which could not be discovered using ordinary and reasonable care in inspection. It is a hidden or dormant defect in a product, premises, or title to real property that cannot be discovered by observation or a reasonably careful inspection.

Defects Must Be Disclosed

Buying a new house can be a difficult and stressful process. Most older homes have at least a few items that need to be fixed or upgraded, such as old wiring or plumbing. It is a good practice for a home buyer to know the age of certain features, including the roof and septic tank (if applicable), since they eventually will need to be replaced. In the District of Columbia, the seller is responsible for disclosing any significant defects in the home using the seller’s disclosure statement which is an addendum to the GCAAR contract. Some defects are clear and will be readily disclosed. But what do you do if you discover a defect in your new house after going to closing? In the District of Columbia, you may have some options

Defect Disclosure is the Seller’s Responsibility

District of Columbia laws regarding seller’s disclosures requires the seller to disclose all “material defects” in a property to the buyer for the sale to be valid. If a home buyer discovers a material defect that the seller failed to disclose before the close of the sale, the law may give them the right to cancel the transaction or seek monetary damages.

A material defect is “a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people.” This does not necessarily include systems or components that are at or beyond the end of their normal useful life. For instance, a furnace that works fine but was expected to break down years ago is not considered defective.

What To Do If Defects are Discovered After the Sale

Antonoplos & Associates’ Residential Real Estate Litigation Practice represents first time home buyers, home owners, real estate investors, real estate developers, homebuilders, contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors, in matters involving Real Estate Litigation. Antonoplos & Associates routinely represents clients in Real Estate Litigation cases in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Antonoplos & Associates Real Estate Litigation Practice focuses on cases involving breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, and civil REICO claims against defendants during and after the sales process.

Antonoplos & Associates Residential Real Estate Litigation Services

  • Construction Defects
  • Flood Damage.
  • Property’s Foundation and Structure.
  • Claims involving improperly installed HVAC, Electrical & Plumbing Systems.
  • Construction Claims involving New Residential Homes.
  • Renovations to Older Residential Homes.
  • Commercial Construction Projects & Development.
  • Condominium & Cooperative Development Projects.
  • Suits by Condominium Association against Developers & Builders
  • General Contractors suits against Subs
  • Sub-Contractors suits against General Contractors