Selling a House With Defects


Does a homeowner have a responsibility to the future homeowner all the defects of the home he/she is selling? Or is it the future homeowner’s responsibility to hire a home inspector?

Rabbi Yehonoson Dovid Hool answered:

It depends what type of defects are involved.

If there are defects that are not apparent to a purchaser, the seller is obliged to inform the purchaser. Anything that is readily apparent need not be detailed to the buyer as he is expected to notice this himself. (An extreme example – when selling a car to someone in the presence of the buyer, if the car has only three wheels it is not necessary for the seller to point this out!)

If after the sale the buyer discovers a defect that was present at the time of the sale (and was not immediately noticeable), and the buyer was unaware of this defect at the time of the sale, then he can renege on the purchase and ask for his money back, even if the seller was also unaware of the defect.

However, there are circumstances in which the seller is entitled to repair the defect, preventing the buyer from retracting from the sale. (In general, this is when the defect does not substantially detract from the essence of the item sold.) As always, actual circumstances should be referred to a Dayan or Beis Din.

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