Can seller not disclose non-permitted work in a disclosure form?

Seller did not disclose non-permitted work in Real Estate Transfer Disclosure and says the work was done by licensed contractor and were not aware of permit requirements. They are refusing to be liable for the same. Can they claim that they didn’t know as the work was done by licensed contractors?

Asked on December 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In answer to your question, the seller of the property can claim that they did not know that unpermitted work done by licensed contractors was done on the property that you bought. However, per code, licensed contractors are required to obtain permits for works of improvement that require permits.

Failure of the licensed contractor to obtain the required permits for the seller who presumably retained the contractor is imputed to the seller for liability purposes.

If the seller failed to disclose unpermitted work in the tds that you received before close of escrow and the seller is blaming the contractors that he or she hired, the excuse is not valid. I suggest that you consult with a real estate attorney about your situation as to the feasibility of a legal action for damages to permit the work of improvement on the home your purchased.

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