Buffalo, NY asked in Real Estate Law for New York

Q: Do I have a case against previous homeowner for NOT disclosing an invasive species of plant taking over our yard?

We did a walk through on the house in late October, placed a bid that was accepted and, closed in December and then in the spring these plants started growing all over the yard, we discovered what they are (Japanese knot wood) and found out that they are very invasive and can eventually cause problems with the foundation. This information was NOT disclosed to us before we closed and I am just curious as to see if this is something that is supposed to be disclosed or if I’m just out of luck?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Toshinori Isoai
Toshinori Isoai
  • New City, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Probably no (out of lock) unless you had a specific provision for it in the sales contract designed to survive the closing.

Seller usually has the obligation in NYS to present Property Condition Disclosure Statement to the purchaser, but often times the obligation is waived by giving an additional $500 to the purchaser as part of the closing adjustment. Even assuming you received the Statement signed by the Seller, the plant issue will not constitute a "material" defect subject to the disclosure requirements, and it's highly possible that the Seller didn't even know of the type of the plant or even it exists.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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