» Jump To: Meaning | Importance | What Needs To Be Disclosed? | Disclosure Forms | Exemptions | Lying in Seller Disclosures | FSBO Mistakes in Disclosures | Minimizing Disclosure Problems | Final Word | FAQs
Florida real estate laws require home sellers to disclose certain things when selling their homes. Further, these disclosures vary according to your area & type of property. Hence, it’s important to know which disclosures you must provide when selling a house in Florida.
» Selling a House in Florida: Know the process for selling a home in the Sunshine State.
What Is A Seller’s Disclosure?
The Florida property disclosure form is a standard checklist form containing material defects and features of the property. The form provides information about the property that may negatively affect the value of the house.
However, sellers should report these defects to the best of their knowledge and understanding. You shall disclose any known information about your Florida house from pest infestation to pending legal issues. This will help you avoid future disputes.
Previously, the Florida disclosure laws did not make it mandatory to submit a seller’s property disclosure form.
However, the Florida Supreme Court case of Johnson v. Davis (1985) set a precedent for all home sellers to disclose any material defects about their house, which are not easily observable but affect the market value of the property.
Usually, the Florida real estate disclosure form is completed along with the listing agreement or while listing your home on the MLS.
» Paperwork for Selling a House Without a Realtor: Understand the paperwork you’ll need to sell your house yourself.
Importance Of Seller’s Disclosure
Sellers’ disclosures serve the following purpose in real estate transactions:
|🔎||Give Complete Information About The Property||Disclosures help communicate the defects present on the property. They ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the transaction are well aware of the property's history.|
|⚖️||Protects Sellers Against Legal Liabilities||Once you disclose all the known defects present in the house or which come to light during the inspection, you may be exempted from any future liability against those defects.|
|👍||Develops Credibility||Honesty, accuracy and transparency are of utmost importance when selling your house. Disclosures are a way of achieving all of these and thereby enhancing your credibility.|
🎯 Meeting your disclosure requirements is simple with Houzeo.
Houzeo offers the best possible alternatives for you to deal with disclosures.
💲 List your property with Houzeo’s Bronze,Silver, Gold or Platinum Plan
💲 Purchase the “Contract to Close Upgrade Package” to have a licensed broker review your paperwork and make sure it is appropriate.
In addition, you should also have the settlement agent review the paperwork so you cover all bases.
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*Houzeo is not a brokerage or a licensed agent, but rather a tech platform for FSBO home sellers. Hence, the information offered here serves to educate you rather than advise you. Please hire the services of a licensed professional for legal advice.
What Does A Seller Have To Disclose In Florida?
Sellers must fill out a form called ‘Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement’ prescribed by The Florida Association of Realtors. This form covers all the basic points to be disclosed.
Here’s a section-wise summary of all the information which goes into the disclosure:
|1.||Structure & Appliances||This section goes into detail about any leakage problems in the structure of your home. Further, you also have to mention whether you have HVAC, electrical, mechanical, sprinkler or plumbing systems up to date.|
|2.||Pests||Sellers need to disclose the presence of termite, fungi, or pest infestations and whether they have caused any structural damage. You also inform if you have carried out any pest control treatments in the past.|
|3.||Drainage & Flooding||If the house has been affected by flooding or water intrusion previously, tick this section. You also state if your house falls in a flood hazard area, or seaward of the coastal construction line.|
|4.||Plumbing||Sellers need to disclose the source of potable water in the house. You mention whether you have any water treatment system and a properly working sewage or septic tank system. This is also the section to give details on any leakages in plumbing or unused wells, tanks, etc. lying on your property.|
|5.||Pools, Hot Tubs & Spa||In case any swimming pools, hot tubs, or spas built after October 2000 are present on your property, you need to specify whether they have at least one stipulated safety feature, e.g. enclosures, pool barriers, pool cover, etc.|
|6.||Sinkholes||State laws in Florida mandate it to disclose the existence of any sinkholes on the property. You also mention whether you have any insurance against sinkholes, or if you have claimed any in the past.|
|7.||HOA Restrictions & Boundaries||Florida Statute requires all houses to be members of the Home owner's Association. This section helps you disclose the fees charged by HOA, any restrictions related to resale or leasing, and more.
You also specify whether your home has a proper fence, wall, or driveways separating you from neighboring properties. Lastly, you disclose any boundary disputes, encroachments, or easements affecting your property.
|8.||Environmental Hazard||In this section, you disclose any hazards related to lead-based paint, asbestos, mold, radon gas, chemical storage tanks, etc. You also mention whether these things have damaged the home in the past and whether you made any repairs related to it.
Lastly, you disclose if your property has any mangroves, archeological sites, or environmentally sensitive areas.
|9.||Government Restrictions||You have to disclose if your property is in violation of any government prescribed rules regarding zoning, land use, or construction. You also mention any restrictions regarding additions, improvements, or replacements placed on your property. You also give details about any permits or violations related to unrecorded liens, safety code, etc.|
Standard Property Condition Disclosure Statement
Click on the image below to access Florida disclosure form PDF.
Additional Sellers Disclosure Forms In Florida
Apart from the seller’s property disclosure form Florida, there are other disclosures as well which have been mandated federally or which are to be provided only in certain areas. You need to check which ones are necessary for your area.
1] Lead Paint Disclosure Florida
The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act passed in 1992 requires the disclosure of any lead-based paint or chipped paint in any housing built before 1978.
The seller may offer 10 days to the buyer to complete a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based hazards.
2] Condominium Disclosure Statement Florida
The rules regarding Condo Disclosure Statement are prescribed under Florida seller disclosure laws. They mandate a seller to disclose a copy of the declaration of the condominium, its articles of incorporation, by-laws, rules, financial information, etc.
Subsequently. the seller shall also provide a copy of the ‘Governance Form’. The form includes information regarding the working, responsibilities, and day-to-day affairs of the Association.
The following image will take you to the Disclosure Form:
3] Home Owner’s Association Disclosure Statement
Similar to the Condo Disclosure, a seller needs to disclose to the buyer if they are a member of the HOA to the buyer. This rule is prescribed under Florida Statutes §720.401.
4] Florida Radon Gas Disclosure
Florida radon gas disclosure mandates all sellers to provide a notice to warn the buyers regarding the hazardous effects of exposure to harmful radiation.
The Florida radon gas disclosure form must contain the following statement:
“RADON GAS: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, when it has accumulated in a building in sufficient quantities, may present health risks to persons who are exposed to it over time. Additionally, levels of radon that exceed federal and state guidelines have been found in buildings in Florida. Additional information regarding radon and radon testing may be obtained from your county health department.”
5] Coastal Properties Disclosure Statement
Any seller whose property is located partially or completely seaward of the coastal construction line needs to disclose any federal, state, or local regulations which govern such property.
Further, disclosures related to coastal erosion, beach nourishment, and protection of marine turtles are to be given in writing to the buyer under sellers disclosure Florida laws.
Clicking on the following image will redirect you to the above disclosure form:
6] Property Tax Disclosure
Florida Statutes §689.261 declares that the transfer of ownership does not indicate that the buyer would pay the same amount of taxes that the seller previously paid.
It states that taxs may be subject to reassessment after change in ownership, and could come out more than the current assessments.
A seller is to give a disclaimer regarding to changes in tax rate either in the sale contract or on a separate disclosure document.
7] Seller Non-Occupancy Disclosure Florida
It may as well happen that sellers have never resided in the property they are selling. In that case, sellers are required to submit a written non-occupancy disclosure.
This disclosure basically states that the seller is not aware of the material condition of the property, as they never resided in it. This in turn transfers the liability to inspect on the buyer.
What Do Sellers Not Have To Disclose In Florida?
Under the Florida Statutes §689.25, certain things do not come under the ambit of ‘material facts’. Hence, failure to disclose these facts does not attract any legal consequences. These facts are-
- Whether any previous occupant was suffering from HIV AIDS;
- Whether a suicide, homicide, or death has occurred on the property in the past.
Penalty for Lying on Seller’s Disclosure Florida
Although a seller is supposed to reveal all material facts that affect the property’s market value, these facts should also be the ones a seller knows about.
There are some actions that a buyer may take if the seller lied on the disclosure statement in Florida:
|Mediation||A mediator may be appointed to settle any disputes between the buyer and seller, if your contract contains a mediation clause.|
The mediator provides solutions to settle the matter amicably. They can also give suggestions as to how the damages are to be paid between both parties.
|Fraud Lawsuit||If a buyer wishes to file a case of fraud, they shall prove all of the following things:|
– The seller had prior knowledge about the defect.
– It was a material defect affecting the market value of the property.
– Defect was not easily detectable or known to the buyer.
– Seller’s failure to disclose the defect
📝 Note: Not every disclosure that a seller fails to make would make up for a fraud claim. A lawsuit for fraud is only brought against failure to disclose any material defects.
Although lying on Florida real estate disclosure form is an illegal act, the law also protects you in case the defect was not obvious or was not detected during the home inspection process.
In the case of Jensen v. Bailey (2011), the Florida Court declared that where a defect was not known to the seller at the time of sale, and which was not reasonably visible, did not give rise to a cause of action. It means, that if the seller was unaware of the defect under reasonable circumstances, he/she/they cannot be held liable for it.
Most Common Mistakes By FSBO Home Sellers In Disclosures
The main object of disclosures is to give clarity and perspective to a buyer. A seller’s disclosure statement gives prospective buyers an idea of the property’s physical condition before they purchase it.
Here’s some mistakes you should absolutely avoid:
👉 Failing to Submit Disclosures
It is ideal for sellers to complete all disclosure formalities even if your state laws do not mandate it.
Skipping on providing disclosures can attract lawsuits in the future if any material defects are found. If you disclose any defects early on, the buyer may not be able to file a lawsuit against those defects in the future.
👉 Lying in Seller’s Disclosure Statement
Lying is the biggest mistake you can make on seller disclosures.
Making false claims or failing to disclose material defects can lead to a fraud lawsuit against you in the future.
In some cases, you may have to take back your house and pay the buyer back all the costs incurred in the transaction. This could happen in cases where the severity of the defect makes it impossible for the buyer to keep the house.
👉 Not Providing Disclosures in Time
A real estate agent will usually provide you with disclosure statement required in your locality. They also verify and submit it to buyers within time before closing.
However, as an FSBO home seller, you are required to do this process yourself. If defects are not disclosed in a timely manner, a buyer may withdraw from the agreement before closing. Therefore, make sure to do it within time.
- ✍️ Pro Tip: Sellers who are selling their house the FSBO way are advised to keep their Disclosure Statement ready before listing on the MLS. It increases your credibility and reliability, as prospective buyers get an idea of the property’s condition early on.
» How To List On MLS: Learn how you can list your house on the MLS without a Realtor
Tips To Minimize Problems In Disclosures
|Review And Verify||There’s a time allowance (some permit 10 days) to review and verify everything about your Purchase and Sales Agreement—also the square footage, home usage, and marketing.|
|Ask Questions||Ask questions when in doubt. This would help you in avoiding future troubles.|
|Hire A Professional Inspector||A professional inspector can help you gather backup information about the property’s condition. You can also opt for a pre-inspection before listing.|
|Disclose Everything||To avoid problems in your home disclosure statement disclose everything you know honestly. Even though it’s a minor issue, you must disclose it.|
|Get A Licensed Agent Involved||The best way to avoid disclosure issues is to get a licensed real estate agent. Agents can help you manage and assist you in the process along the way.|
» Top Real Estate Agents: Check out the rankings for America’s top 10 real estate agents
- ✍️ Pro Tip: List Your Property With Houzeo
The best way to minimize problems in your seller’s disclosure is to Purchase Houzeo’s “Contract to Close Upgrade Package”. A licensed broker will review your paperwork to make sure it’s perfect. Plus, you can have a settlement agent review your paperwork, so that you cover all bases.
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Final Word: Are Florida Seller Disclosure Laws Complex?
|Level of Complexity||Average|
|Is Florida a Caveat Emptor State? *||No|
|Is Florida a Non-Disclosure State? **||No|
*Caveat Emptor Rule means that it is the buyer’s responsibility to find out if there are major or minor defects with the property. And if he/she does not perform the necessary due diligence to inspect, it’s entirely not the seller’s liability if the property does not meet the expectation.
**In a non-disclosure state, the selling price of a house is not available to the masses on an open source.
So, how difficult is it for you to deal with sellers’ disclosure in Florida?
Florida real estate seller disclosure requirements are a little complicated. Selling your house FSBO entails that you’ll have to deal with disclosures on your own. This demands for you to be aware of all the disclosure requirements and any mistake can cost you dearly.
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Though selling your home yourself on a For Sale By Owner website can save you thousands in commission, we highly recommend you add a Flat Fee MLS listing to your marketing strategy. Check out the best Flat Fee MLS companies in Florida
Dealing with seller disclosures in Florida comes with its own set of challenges and can lawsuits in the future if not dealt with properly. This is where Houzeo can help you.
By listing your property with Houzeo, you get access to all forms in electronic format. And that too, for FREE! Houzeo has segregated all the disclosures state-wise so that you don’t have to hunt for Florida seller disclosures separately.
Check out some of the Houzeo reviews and how it has helped customers around the US.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are sellers disclosure required in Florida?
Although the seller's property disclosure form is not mandatory in Florida, the state law requires a seller to disclose any known material defects, not easily observable in the property which would affect its market value.
What disclosures are required by the seller?
A seller in Florida is required to disclose the following:
(1) Any material / latent defects in the property (covered in Standard Property Condition Disclosure Statement)
(2) Federal Disclosure on Lead-Based Paint
(3) Condominium Disclosure Statement
(4) HOA Disclosure Statement
(5) Radon Gas Disclosure
(6) Coastal Property Disclosure Statement
(7) Property Tax Disclosure
Do you have to disclose a death in a house in Florida?
No. Florida law does not mandate disclosing previous death, homicide, or suicide on the property.
What does a seller have to disclose in Florida?
A seller needs to disclose any material defects in the property that are not easily observable but affect the value of the property. A seller also has to disclose whether any pending litigations, claims, or liens are present regarding the property, the electrical, plumbing, and other amenities it offers. Most of the sellers disclosure in Florida is covered by the Standard Disclosure Form, so make sure you complete that before selling your home.
Is Florida a disclosure state?
Yes, being a disclosure state, the selling price of homes is available for everyone to see on open source websites.
The disclosure for what environmental hazard is required to be given at or before entering a contract for sale, under Florida law?
Environmental hazards related to lead-based paint, asbestos, mold, radon gas, chemical storage tanks, etc. are to be mentioned in the Florida seller disclosure form.
When is lead based paint disclosure required?
It is only required if your house was built before 1978, or if there have been previous traces of lead paint found in your house.
Which Florida statute requires sellers of property subject to a mandatory Homeowner’s Association to provide buyers with a disclosure summary?
This rule is prescribed under Florida Statutes §720.401.
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