Hidden defect in condominium – what can be done when it’s discovered?


Carl Seffer
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Have you discovered a hidden defect in your condominium?

Buying a condominium is a big investment and it’s important to be sure that it doesn’t lead to unnecessary costs in the long run. When you buy a condominium, you have the right to be informed of any defects that the condominium has. But some defects are difficult to spot, even for an inspector. In the event of a hidden defect in a condominium, you as a buyer have the right to demand that the seller compensate you for the defect, but there are also requirements for you as a buyer that you have to be aware of.

As a buyer, you have a duty to investigate. This means that it’s your responsibility to check the condominium carefully to discover any defects and errors. It’s also your responsibility to bring in an inspector who can examine the condominium. In order to be able to report a hidden defect, it has to have existed since before you bought the condominium, but be of such character that it couldn’t have been detected during an inspection. The defect also can’t be something that should be expected. This means that certain defects can be a natural consequence of the condominium being old, in poor condition, etc. Such defects doesn’t count as hidden defects.

How do you complain about a hidden defect in a condominium?

If you discover a hidden defect, you have to contact the seller immediately. You have up to two years to complain about any hidden defects in the condominium, but once you’ve discovered a defect, you can’t wait too long to contact the seller about it. Then you have the right to demand that the seller either pays to correct the error or that the seller compensates you by lowering the price of the condominium. Should there be a major defect, you also have the right to revoke the purchase altogether.

Sometimes it the agreement can state that the condominium is sold as is. Or the seller can insert a disclaimer clause into the contract. If the condominium is sold in its existing condition, you can still complain about any hidden defects, but there are additional requirements you have to meet. In addition to being able to demonstrate that you have discovered a hidden defect, you also have to be able to show that:

  • the condominium is in a worse condition than you could have expected.
  • the information the seller has given about the condominium doesn’t match the real state of it.
  • the seller has withheld important information about the condominium.

However, if the seller has included a disclaimer clause in the contract, then you can’t go back and complain about hidden defects. This is because the seller has waived their responsibility for the condition of the condominium. If the seller includes a disclaimer clause in the agreement, the price for the condominium should also be lower to compensate for the disclaimer.

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