Agency Vocabulary


   Doug Barry, Associate Broker

                     Licensed in Maryland
  Direct Line 410-207-4751  Office 410-583-5700  



Understanding Maryland's Property Disclosure Law

Maryland's Property Condition Disclosure/Disclaimer law changed on October 1, 2005 (The form was updated again 10/1/07). This change in the law clarified sellers' responsibilities for disclosing problems with a property that they are selling. The requirements are the same, whether the seller uses an agent or sells "For Sale By Owner." Most sellers are required to fill out either a disclosure or a disclaimer when they put the house on the market, both of which can be found on the same form. The decision on which part of the form to fill out is up to the seller. And while the agent should be able to thoroughly explain the entire form, they cannot give legal advice to a seller on which one a seller should do.

If the seller fills out the disclosure, they must list all material defects the property has, and that the seller has actual knowledge of. If the seller fills out the Disclaimer, the seller is stating that they are selling the property "as is," with all defects which may exist (unless they agree to repairs in the contract), and the seller is making no warranties as to the condition of the property. Under the new law, even if the seller fills out the Disclaimer, they must disclose in writing any latent defects on the property that the seller has actual knowledge of. A latent defect under Maryland law is basically a hidden defect, which directly affects the health or safety of the buyer.

The form must be provided to any buyer before they make an offer on a property. If the form is not given in time, the buyer may be able to get out of the contract on that basis, and may place financial liabilities on the seller. It is also extremely important that an agent and/or seller use the correct version of the form (dated 10/1/07). If an earlier version of the form is used, it is the same as if the form was not completed at all.

There is a list of exceptions to the law (cases where a seller would not be required to use the form), for example, in most cases, it is not necessary on a new home. Agents and sellers should keep in mind, however, that the exceptions are only for the Disclosure/Disclaimer form. It does not exempt sellers from other disclosures, such as the lead disclosure form.

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