• The Residential Property Condition Disclosure Report
  • September 20, 2012 | Author: Jane W. Freeman
  • Law Firm: Cacace, Tusch & Santagata - Stamford Office
  • A seller of residential real estate containing one to four units, including condominiums, is required to provide a written residential condition report ("RCR") to a prospective purchaser prior to the prospective purchaser's signing a binder, a contract to purchase, an option or a lease containing a purchase option. Conn. Gen. Stat. §20-327b. This requirement exists regardless of whether a licensed real estate broker is involved.

    When a broker is involved, the broker usually will furnish the form to the seller and request that the seller complete it at the time the property is listed for sale. The required form of the RCR is contained in regulations issued by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, and the form is amended from time to time. A seller can confirm that the most current form of the RCR is being completed by either consulting an attorney or checking on the Department of Consumer Protection's website.

    The form of the RCR was recently amended to require (a) the disclosure of municipal assessments on the property, including water and sewer charges; (b) information concerning leased items on the premises, including propane tanks, water heaters, major appliances and alarm systems; and (c) information concerning whether the real property is located in a municipally designated village district, a municipally designated historic district or is a property on the National Register of Historic Places. The RCR still requires the disclosure of important information concerning (1) environmental matters such as lead, radon, subsurface sewage disposal, flood hazards and if the residence will be served by well water, the results of water tests performed for volatile organic compounds; (2) underground storage tanks during the seller's period of ownership, including detailed information concerning its removal, if removed; and (3) litigation, agency or administrative action, orders or liens on the premises related to the release of hazardous substances.

    If a seller fails to provide the RCR as required, the buyer is entitled to a credit of $500 at the closing. Conn. Gen. Stat. §20-327c. While representations made by a seller in an RCR do not constitute warranties to a buyer, Conn. Gen. Stat. §20-327b(d)(2)(D), it is important that the representations made and the information provided be complete and accurate. Connecticut courts have held that there is a statutory cause of action against sellers under Conn. Gen. Stat. §20-327b for their intentional misrepresentations and their nondisclosure of material facts. Dockter v. Slowik, 91 Conn. App. 448, cert. denied, 276 Conn. 919 (2005). In addition, common law causes of action may still be brought against sellers for their negligent misrepresentations. Giametti v. Inspections, Inc., 76 Conn. App. 352, 361 (2003).

    Sellers would be well advised to spend the necessary time completing an RCR to ensure that it is both complete and accurate.