Must A House Seller Disclose Coronavirus?

PART 2 – Contract Liability

The first entry in this series highlighted the likely absence of any legal remedy under the Michigan Seller Disclosure Act when a Seller does not disclose COVID-19 or other infectious diseases in a house which is about to be sold.   Indeed, in most cases the Seller will have no such legal obligation under the Act.

It thus falls to the Seller and Buyer – along with their chosen professionals – to resolve this issue on a case by case basis within the context of their own contractual relationship.

There are plenty of reasons for Buyers, Sellers and their chosen representatives to address this issue.  Buyers, quite simply, want to know the risk they are incurring.  Sellers would like to have their risk of selling a house in the age of the Coronavirus as well defined as is possible.  The representatives of Buyers and Sellers want to accommodate those desires and define their own risk.

There are any number of solutions, ranging from a refusal to make any representation, to an assurance than no such known pathogen exists.  More likely, the Seller will invite the Buyer to include infectious diseases as part of their inspection of the House. This is a tall order under current technology and conditions.  House inspectors are not yet equipped to handle such matters, as the priority for Coronavirus testing lies elsewhere.  This paradigm will undoubtedly change in time, and sellers in local communities such as Rochester, Clarkston, Troy and other Michigan communities will be able to access ready-solutions to this gap in current law.

We are entering a brave new world.  For now, it is up to the parties and their professionals to fill the gap and develop solutions on a case by case basis to redefine the terms of their Purchase Agreement relating to Coronavirus and other infectious diseases.  The professionals at LAMBERT LAW have the resources and ideas to fill the current legal gap on this emerging issue.

Due to space limitations, this is the second in a series of articles. 

Caution: This article provides general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should contact LAMBERT LAW, 407 6th St., Ste A, Rochester, MI 48307 (248) 642-7774 if you are seeking specific legal advice regarding the topics discussed above.