A Seller’s Guide to Property Disclosure in Dhaka
Selling a house is just as complex as buying a house. If you want to sell your apartment in Dhaka, you must follow a legal procedure. The buyers will always sharply check everything before buying a house. If the seller fails to disclose any important information to the buyer, the transaction is likely to fail. In real estate terms, disclosure refers to the document that reveals all defects of the property. These said defects impact the value of the property, and the seller is obligated to disclose each known defect. The disclosure will outline each past problem that occurred to the property. The seller is legally obligated to disclose the information. If the seller fails to disclose any critical information about the property that negatively impacts the value of the property, the buyer can legally file a complaint against the seller. As there are legal consequences, the seller must be very careful about the disclosure. Here’s a brief guide of things that a seller needs to disclose before selling a house in Dhaka-
The disclosure statement has a few basic features. First of all, the disclosure statement should be prepared following the terms and regulations of The Property Act, 1882. Secondly, the disclosure document must be in written form. The seller must submit the disclosure as a written document to the buyer. Lastly, the disclosure statement is not an inspection report. The seller does not need to complete a house inspection in order to prepare a disclosure report. Rather, the seller will list down all the knows problems during the tenure of his or her ownership of the property. As a seller, if you are not aware of a problem with the property, you are legally not obligated to list it in the disclosure statement. Hence, a buyer shall not think of a disclosure report as a house inspection report.
Health & Safety Hazards
If you are selling an old house, there can be numerous health and safety issues with the property. As a seller, you must disclose any issue with the property that may potentially harm the physical health of the new buyer. Over the years, the walls and floors of the property may dampen up. It can create mold, radon, or asbestos. The mold that grows within the walls or the floors is directly related to humidity within the property. Mold can cause allergies, itchy eyes, and headaches. Certain home appliances that use fossil fuel to function may generate carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous gas and seriously damages internal organs.
Further, the seller must disclose if there are any faulty electric lines within the apartment. Fire hazard has become frequent in the recent past. Anything that can cause a potential fire hazard should be mentioned in the disclosure report. If the house features access to a pool, the seller must disclose water-related issues such as the depth of the pool or the quality of pool water.
Most modern houses are now well-equipped with modern features. Any issues with the electricity line, water line, sewer system, gas line, and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) fall under the umbrella of mechanical issues. The seller must inform the buyer if there are any existing mechanical issues with the house. For example, if there are any electric power board that does not function properly, the seller has to mention it in the disclosure statement. In addition, the seller must inform whether or not gas and water are available in the line all the time. Many houses in certain areas in Dhaka suffer from a shortage of gas and water. If gas and water are available for a specific period of time, the seller must mention that. Otherwise, the seller may deceive the buyer, which is illegal. Lastly, the house should have a proper ventilation system to ensure airflow. If the house has a faulty ventilation system, it will fall under the health hazard category.
In the disclosure report, the seller must enlist any existing structural defects with the house. If the house has any issues with the foundation, roof, or structure of the house, the seller must clearly mention it in the disclosure report. For example, if the foundation of the building is not earthquake-proof, the seller has to disclose this information. If the roof of the building does not have a high railing, the seller has to mention it. Lastly, if the structure of the apartment has any architectural faults, the seller has to list it in the disclosure report. Further, if the apartment structure has any sharp edges or damaged walls, the seller has to disclose that too.
Due to overflow of the water or plumbing issuers, the floors or the walls of the house may face water damage. Plumbing is a common issue. Due to faulty sewerage or plumbing, waterlog and flooding occurs. The seller has to mention all previous history of water damage to the house.
After a few years, most houses need renovation works. Over time, the paint on the wall may discolor, the edges of the wall may get damaged. Sometimes, if the house was sold multiple times, each new buyer might remodel the structure of the house. Whatever the changes, if any sort of renovation work has been done in the past, the seller has to disclose it in the disclosure report.
Most houses in Dhaka face the mosquito problem. Though it is not common practice, however, legally a seller is bound to disclose any known issue with pests. Apart from mosquitos, the house may be infested by termites, rodents, or rats. If the seller is aware of any pest issue, he or she has to disclose it to the buyer.
If the seller has put the house on the mortgage for loans, the buyer has a right to know about it. Often, homeowners use their house as leverage to obtain loans from financial institutions. Before selling the property, the seller must clearly mention that the house is clear from any leverages. The seller must also report any liens against the house or bankruptcy proceedings that may impact the value of the house.
Property Line or Zoning Issue
Property line or zoning issue is a very common problem in Bangladesh. Adjacent landowners often create a dispute over the property line. These disputes are required to resolve legally. However, that usually takes time. Hence, the seller cannot sell the house during an ongoing dispute over the property line. Moreover, when the dispute resolves, the seller has to disclose the entire dispute and its result in the disclosure report.
If any crime occurred within the property, the seller must disclose it in the report. Past history of robbery, theft, or physical harm, whatever the crime, the seller has to clearly mention the crime and its current situation of legal proceedings. Especially if anyone was murdered in the house, the seller must disclose it. Many buyers are reluctant to buy houses that have a past history of death. Buyers often demand to know about natural death as well.
The environment of the neighborhood, if negative, requires disclosure. If the neighborhood has a high crime rate, noise pollution, air pollution, or other negative features, it will adversely affect the value of the house. In addition, if there are any factories in the neighborhood that emit toxic gases or dump toxic materials in the open area, the seller has to disclose such information too.
When to Provide Disclosure Report
There are usually two occasions during the listing and selling of a house when the seller may need to hand over the disclosure report.
If the seller submits the disclosure report along with the listing of the property, potential buyers will have full knowledge about the property. Only serious buyers will approach the seller. There will be no disputes right before the deal. Hence, it will save time for both parties, and the transaction will be much smoother.
On the other hand, a seller may decide to provide the disclosure report right before the final deal. Oftentimes, it creates disputes among buyers and sellers. As buyers find out issues from the disclosure report, they may decide not to buy the property or negotiate to drop the price. In most cases, last-minute disclosure report handover results in a failed deal.
When Can Disclosure Report be Omitted
The disclosure report is not mandatory in all cases. There are a few instances where the seller does not need to provide a disclosure report.
- Bankruptcy: If the seller declares bankruptcy and the bank decides to take over the house, the seller will not need to provide a disclosure report.
- Bank-owned Houses: If a buyer buys a house from a bank, the bank is not obligated to provide a disclosure report. Rather, the buyer needs to conduct his or her own home inspection.
- Gift: If someone decides to transfer the ownership of a house to another person as a gift, a disclosure report will not be necessary.
- Divorce: If the ownership of a house gets transferred as a result of divorce between spouses, a disclosure report will not be necessary.
- Business Transfer: If a company owns the house, the company does not need to show a disclosure report while transferring the ownership.
The law of property disclosure protects the buyers from buying a property with serious flaws and protects the sellers from future legal obligations. Hence, the sellers need to take disclosure reports very seriously. If the seller fails to disclose any serious flaws with the property, the buyer can take legal action against the seller. In such cases, the seller will need to pay for any buyer’s damage. For example, if the buyer discovers undisclosed health hazards and suffers from health issues, the seller will have to pay for all the medical expenses upon lodging a legal complaint. On the other hand, if the buyer finds any structural or mechanical issues with the house, the seller is legally obligated to pay for all the repair expenses.
Tips to Avoid Disclosure Dispute
Unless the seller is very careful and precise in their disclosure report, future disclosure disputes from buyers may arise. To avoid such disclosure disputes, here are a few tips:
- Disclose every little-known issue about the property. No matter how small the issue is, to stay on the safe side, disclose every detailed issue that may negatively affect the house’s value, usefulness, or enjoyment.
- After closing the sale, keep the signed disclosure for at least three years.
- Keep documents of all repair works and provide them to the buyer before closing the deal.
- Conduct a pre-inspection. It will help you find all the house issues to list them precisely on the disclosure report.
Minimize the Impact of a Disclosure Dispute
If you try to go through The Property Act, 1882, you will find numerous sections, sub-sections, and explanatory footnotes. Unless you are well equipped with the terms of law, your head may explode while reading all these complex laws and real estate terms. Even if you manage to read through the sentences, the legal jargon will leave you with headaches and confusion. Hence, if any disclosure dispute arises, it is wise to hire an experienced real estate agent. A real estate agent will help you to resolve the dispute amicably. Moreover, if you hire real estate prior to your listing of the house, the agent will help to prepare the disclosure report in the right way.
Disclosure is a crucial document for the sellers and the buyers of a house. While the law is there to primary there to protect the buyers from getting deceived, the sellers are also protected from any false legal disputes through the disclosure report. Concerned sellers should appoint a real estate before listing the property and disclose the condition of the house precisely to avoid future legal hassles.
Do I need to disclose any repair of the rooftop of the building?
Ans: Yes. If the buyer is a partial owner of the rooftop, you have to disclose this information.
Where Can I get a disclosure form?
Ans: You can find disclosure forms online. Or, you can contact a real estate agent.
How long before selling the house should I prepare my property disclosure report?
Ans: You should prepare your property disclosure report right before listing the property for sale.
Do I need to disclose any repair of the garage?
Ans: Yes. You have to disclose any repair of the garage as it is a part of the property too.
Where Can I find experienced real estate agents to hire to prepare my property’s disclosure?
Ans: Mir Real Estate employs the most skilled and experienced real estate agents to hire.