If asbestos was discovered and a purchase contract terminated, should the agent disclose this to future buyers?

My agent says that future buyers have responsibility to conduct their own due diligence. I had been working to purchase a home. During the phase 1 environmental evaluation, it was discovered that the home had friable asbestos duct and pipe wrap. The agents all danced around the issue, not wanting to hear the word “asbestos” yet knowing exactly what it was that was found. Now that I’ve terminated the contract because the seller didn’t like the new terms. My agent, who also works for the listing broker, has said that buyers in the future will need to conduct their own due diligence. I suppose I wonder what my legal and ethical responsibilities are. On the one hand, I don’t want to appear to be attempting to coerce the seller. On the other hand, this stuff is nasty and I am shocked that future buyers, many who may not be able to afford the level of inspection that I did, will potentially purchase the property without being informed.

Asked on February 19, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your agent is correct that every new home owner should obtain their own inspection.  You are not the seller, so you don't have a legal duty to any other potential purchasers.  However, the seller does have a duty of disclosure and could be sued for a failure to disclose if they fail to notify any future purchasers of the issues with the asbestos.


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