In the recent case of Rickard v. Coulimore, the plaintiff purchased the subject residential real estate from a living trust. The plaintiff then initiated against the trust owners over damages connected to defects in the property that they had failed to disclose.
The Oklahoma Supreme granted certiorari to assess an interlocutory order to decide whether the transaction was excluded from the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act. The court determined that the transaction represented a transfer by a fiduciary who was not an owner-occupant of the real estate in the court of a trust’s administration and that the transaction was exempt from the Act. As a result, the court affirmed partial summary judgment in regards to the inapplicability of the Act, and the case was remanded for additional proceedings.
The Role of the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act
Oklahoma’s Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act provides that anyone who sells residential property situated in the state of Oklahoma must deliver to whoever purchases the property a written document of disclosure that states both identification of assets and improvements that are part of the sale of the property. A person must also state in this document whether these features are in working order.
A person who sells real estate in Oklahoma must then provide the party purchasing the real estate with one of the following:
- A written statement stating that the seller has never occupied the real estate and makes no disclosure related to the condition of the property and is not aware of any defect with the real estate, or
- A written disclosure about the property on a document created by regulation by Oklahoma’s Real Estate Commission
A seller’s inability to fully share these problems and defects is often discovered when difficulties with the real estate occur. The buyer then pursues an action for violation of the Oklahoma Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act. The buyer can then initiate a legal action addressing the violation of Oklahoma’s Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act. In many cases, buyers will pursue legal action against the realtors as well as other parties including home inspectors and real estate agencies. The causes of action against the seller and real estate agents are restricted to violations of the Disclosure Act.
Causes of action against real estate agents and sellers are restricted to violations of the Disclosure Act. Causes of actions against other parties can be pursued in common law fraud as well as negligence and other claims. Buyers will often request actual as well as punitive damages. When navigating these cases, people often claim that a seller “negligently” failed to share details about real estate in an effort to convince the defendant’s insurer to defend.