If a real estate agent watches a home, are they responsible if problems arise?

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If a real estate agent watches a home, are they responsible if problems arise?

My agent said she would watch our empty home for the season. We came home to a huge leak she would have found had she actually been in the property on a regular basis. Is she or the real estate company liable for the repairs?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances and the expectations--either explicit ones, in the agreement between you and her, or least implicit ones, which could be found by the norms for these service--for how often she'd watch the property.

For example: say either you and she agreed explicitly she'd check on the home on a weekly basis or that's the norm for this type of service. In that case, IF she failed to do that, AND the leak or its damage could have been prevented or minimized if she had done what she was supposed to, you might have a claim against her and her employer.

On the other hand: say that she did in fact look in on the home as often as promised or expected, but the damage happened anyway (e.g. she checked on the home on a Saturday--no sign of leak or damage: on Tuesday the leak started and the damage was basically done by her next check in, next Saturday); in that case, there would be no liability. So unless she violated her agreement AND the damage arose due to the violation,  there is probably no liabilty.


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