What is a Patent verses a Latent Defect?

Today I am going to talk about the difference between a latent versus a patent defect and how it may apply to YOU when your buying or selling a home. A Patent Defect is anything a buyer could see when touring the home. For example, this picture above, you see there is damage. Or a window is broken, a dent in the wall and exposed insulation that might be asbestos. Patent Defeats do not have to be disclosed. If someone can see it they cannot complain later.

Keep in mind that if you had a hole in the wall and put a picture up to hide it. At that point, you are obligated to disclose because this defect, then becomes a Latent Defect, which means that it is hidden. Even with a home inspection, you may not be able to see it.

Now the law is, if it is a major hidden defect, then it would have to be disclosed. The includes things like a foundation problem. A flood that has not been properly repaired, or mold behind the walls. If a seller knows about this they have to disclose this in advance or they could be sued. At common law, a seller, and correspondingly, a seller’s agent, must disclose all known material Latent Defects. A Latent Defect is one that is not visible upon ordinary inspection, but which materially affects the property’s use or value.

Hopefully, this will give you a guideline as to what you have to or not have to disclose when selling your home, and for buyers what to look for when looking at a home! If you have any more questions about Latent, or Patent Defects, we are here if you need us!