Seller Disclosure
It's still the law of the land in Ohio

If you haven't been involved in a real estate transaction in the past six years, you may not be aware that as of 1993,. the state of Ohio requires mandatory property disclosure on homes for sale.

In the early 1990s, the Realtor organization promoted legislation for state-mandated seller disclosure for a very simple reason - this law would prove beneficial not only the buyers but also to the sellers. Buyers are protected because sellers must disclose, in writing, any known defects of the property.

On the other hand, sellers are protected because buyers are put on notice as to those disclosed defects, and once disclosed, defects cannot be the basis of a post-closing lawsuit. The only residential real estate transactions which are exempted from this law are:

  • unimproved land

  • commercial/industrial property

  • newly constructed residential property

  • court-ordered sales

  • transfers between co-owners or those resulting from a divorce

  • inherited property where the seller has not resided in the property for one year prior to the sale

  • transfers to or from the state and other governmental entities

  • sale to a tenant who has resided in the property for at least one year prior to the purchase

  • transfers by fiduciaries in administering an estate, guardianship, or trust

The Ohio Residential Property Disclosure From requires the seller to indicate any known problems or defects regarding a variety of known features and structural aspects of the home.

This includes information on the water supply, sewer system, roof, basement, structural components (e.g., floors and walls), mechanical systems, termites, presence of hazardous materials, drainage, code violations and wells. In some cases, the owner must indicate known problems or defects during his or her ownership for a period not to exceed the past five years.

While the completion of the form by the current owners is required, they are only asked to indicate conditions as they known them. The owners are not required to further investigate any aspect of the home mentioned on the form of which they have no knowledge.

If the owners do not know about the current condition of any item included on the form, they are free to indicate this.

The law requires the owner to present prospective buyers with the completed and signed form as soon as practical or before an offer to purchase the home is made. The buyers must acknowledge receipt of the form by returning a signed and dated copy of the form back to the seller.

If the disclosure form is not provided until after a contract is entered into, the buyer may rescind the contract within three business days after the date on which the form is received by giving written notice to the seller or the seller's agent. This right to rescind is limited to 30 days from the date of the purchase contract was entered into or at closing, whichever occurs first.

Once the transaction closes, no rescission rights exist, regardless of whether the form was presented late or not at all.

A little confused? Don't be. Simply call on a member of the Dayton Area Board of Realtors to help you through the process. While we cannot actually help you fill out the form,. we can answer any questions you may have about the form itself. 

-Excerpted from the Dayton Daily News's Real Estate Plus Section, Sunday, January 31, 1999. Authored by Suzie Roselius.
Suzie Roselius is a past-president of the Dayton Area Board of Realtors.



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