Oklahoma Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act – Disclosures, Disclaimers, and Exemptions for Sellers of Residential Properties
The Ins-And-Outs of the RPCDA
Sellers of residential real estate are required to make certain written disclosures about the physical condition of their property prior to selling in Oklahoma. These requirements are an exception to the normal rule known as caveat emptor, or “buyer beware.” The primary requirements for these disclosures are found in the Oklahoma Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act, or the RPCDA (Oklahoma Statutes, Title 60, Sections 831-839).
The disclosure requirements apply for all sellers of residential real estate in Oklahoma – every single transaction, every single time the home and/or lot changes ownership. There are a limited number of exceptions to the application of the Act, and sellers (or their brokers and agents) should consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether an exemption applies to their specific transaction.
These specific disclosures are not required by state law for commercial transactions; some level of seller disclosure may be advisable for commercial properties, but commercial real estate sellers frequently look to disclaim all representations and warranties concerning their transaction targets, as well as push commercial real estate buyers to conduct their own sufficient due diligence.
When Does the Seller Have to Disclose?
Oklahoma law measures property condition disclosures at the time the seller accepts a written offer – disclosures must be made before the seller signs the written contract. In fact, the seller should ensure that the buyer acknowledges receipt of the seller’s disclosures (with a signature of their own) when the buyer makes the written offer to purchase.
What Items Does the Seller Have to Disclose?
The Oklahoma Real Estate Commission (OREC) has published a standard residential property condition disclosure form. Usually, you’ll have to disclose whether all items are in working order, whether the home has suffered any flood or water damage, the approximate age of the roof, and similar items.
If the home was built before 1978, the RPCDA also requires a lead-based paint disclosure.
If sellers have not occupied the property, they may be able to complete a residential property condition disclaimer form (instead of a disclosure form).
Sellers may also be exempt from disclosure requirements. If so, sellers may be able to complete a residential property condition exemption form and still be in compliance with the RPCDA.
Note: Licensed Oklahoma real estate agents often provide the standard check-box disclosure form to sellers and many are not confident in navigating the exceptions to disclosure requirements. If sellers are not required to complete the full disclosure but elect to do so anyway, this may have a material and adverse impact on the seller’s ability to defend against non-disclosure claims after the transaction closes.
Consequences for Non-Disclosure
Most licensed real estate agents in Oklahoma are familiar with the standard disclosure form, but may not be aware of the severe consequences for the parties to a transaction if the disclosures are skipped altogether, left incomplete, or completed incorrectly. Under the terms of the RPCDA, harmed parties may have up to two years after the closing date to bring a lawsuit related to residential property disclosures.
Claims for non-disclosure or incomplete disclosure can result in litigation.
Get Help From Experienced Counsel
Whether you are a seller, real estate agent or broker, or real estate investor, contact Avenue Legal Group to determine if your transaction requires disclosure, disclaimer, or if an exemption applies. We can help if you are considering buying or selling a property, represent a party to a transaction, are currently under contract, or may be involved in RPCDA litigation.
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