Q: Are home buyers obligated to share with the seller a disruptive family member will be inhabiting the home?
A family with an autistic child purchased the townhouse next door and the noise from the child through the common walls is quite loud, unsettling and highly disruptive. I believe that as a seller, I need to disclose problems or nuisances in the neighborhood such as loud neighbors or ongoing construction, or risk being sued by the new owners. I am concerned that by making the disclosure regarding the next door neighbor, I will have difficulty when selling my house and/or have to reduce the price. Are there similar laws of disclosure for home buyers?
A: Maryland law gives to two options: (1) disclaim any representatitions as to the home and sell "as is"; or (2) fill out the residential disclosure form. Selling "as is" does not get you off the hook for latent defects in the home that would not be discoverable by ordinary visual insepection and which would pose a threat to the safety or health of the occupants (e.g., hidden major structural damage within the walls, for instance, or a history of flooding in the basement during major storms). As to the autistic child living next door, that is NOT a defect in the home itself requiring disclusure on the disclosure form, nor would it pose a threat to the health or safety of the occupants if selling "as is." If you choose to tell prospective buyers about your complaints concernng the neighbor's child, that is your choice; but it is not compelled by law. The disclosures required by law have to do with physical issues affecting the structural integrity of the house and its major systems (hvac, plumbing, electric, etc.), and existing risks to the health and safety of the occupants (black mold, exposed and disturbed asbestos dust).
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