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Do I need to disclose the history of an Ohio property when I sell it?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2020 | Real Estate |

If you are looking to sell a property, you want to encourage buyers, not put them off. However, failing to disclose certain information could cause you legal problems and allow the buyer to back out of a contract when they discover the truth.

Unlike some states, Ohio does not require you to disclose a home’s questionable past to potential buyers. Even if the property was troubled by crime in the past, was the cite of an untimely death or is rumored to be haunted, you’re under no obligation to disclose that information. Be aware, however, that there are websites where the public can search for any deaths that occurred at a property. People in the area may also mention things to buyers.

What does the Ohio Residential Property Disclosure Form require?

As a seller, you must complete this form to disclose material defects with your property to potential buyers, but the information required includes:

  • Water damage
  • Flooding or drainage issues
  • Structural damage
  • Presence of termites
  • Presence of hazardous materials
  • Problems with systems such as electrical or heating systems
  • Violations of zoning laws or HOA rules
  • Boundary issues

If a defect is clearly visible, you do not need to mention it on the form. For instance, if there is a visible crack in the wall, you do not need to point it out. However, if you know about an internal fracture, you would need to say so. Plastering over the crack to try and disguise before selling would be illegal. So would pushing the furniture in front of it before a seller comes to view the property.

What if I did not know about an issue with the property before I sold it?

Ohio law only requires you to disclose problems you know about. However, a buyer could still sue if they find a problem and believe you hid it from them before the sale. If you are unsure about what to disclose when selling a property, it is best to seek legal advice.