California’s Statute of Frauds requires three types of contract to be written. First, leases that last longer than a year. Second, commission agreements between real estate licensees and principles. Third, real estate sales contracts. Each of these contracts serves an important purpose. Namely, they protect both parties from negative repercussions. In extreme cases, though, the law will provide for either party to break these contracts without facing legal implications.
Failure to Disclose Defects
If you sell a home in most states (including California), you will need to disclose any outstanding problems the property has. Failure to do so could be costly. If you neglect to report outstanding issues with the property you are selling and the buyer decides to sue, you could be on the hook for not only the repairs, but possibly court costs as well. In rare cases, the court can order sellers to retake possession of the home, effectively canceling the sale altogether. This type of case doesn’t happen very often at all, but it is something to be aware of when buying or selling a property.
Building Code Violations
Lease agreements generally include a minor clause about personal injury liability on the premises. This clause essentially will say that any tenants or guests of tenants will not file liability claims in the event someone is injured on the premise. This protects the property owner, of course, but they might still be found liable if any building code violations were to bring about an injury.
Additionally, many property law cases revolve around a more abstract question of premise liability. Reasonable safety precautions must be taken by property owners in addition to ensuring that there are no building code violations.
Property law can certainly be complicated. Talking to a real estate lawyer before entering into any property contract might seem overly cautious, but it is definitely better to be safe than homeless.
As a property owner, you have a duty of care for people renting your apartment. Failure to comply with code law could leave your lease agreement null. Likewise, if you are selling a property, you must make sure every knowable defect is documented and shared with the buyer. The consequences are too steep not to.