Virginia law does not require sellers to disclose much information about their property at all…The state of Virginia generally still goes by the old English common-law concept of “caveat emptor” (“let the buyer beware”). That basically means that while sellers can’t lie outright or actively conceal a problem—and must honestly answer prospective buyers’ questions when asked—they aren’t obligated to point out the home’s flaws or defects to buyers. [Selling a Virginia Home: What Are My Disclosure Obligations? | Nolo]
Interesting but not dispositive.
There was active misrepresentation. MLS (via Seller broker) listed it as public sewer not Septic. Blatant (and in writing) and exception to Virginia law.
Buyer should at least discuss with a lawyer. Seller, Seller broker, and potentially MLS as defendants.
Yes, I am a lawyer, BUT THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE; it is only general information. NO CLIENT RELATIONSHIP IS INTENDED TO BE CREATED, NOR IS ANY SUCH RELATIONSHIP SO CREATED. FOR SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE YOU SHOULD TALK TO A LAWYER IN YOUR AREA.
Our MLS, and each is local subject to their own rules and regs, would at most suspend the listing agents usage for improper listing. When we sold our rental this Spring, our agent was warned by the MLS that another agent had reported her for listing the finished square footage as too high, giving her so many days to support or change the data or have her MLS usage suspended. I had to dig up our appraisal and she used that square footage, which was slightly higher, using prior appraisal document as source of square footage. The industry can be filled with jealous, spiteful people.
We did break the status quo with our sale, intruding on previous neighborhood dominance by one agent by using our agent. We also insisted that the value was higher than traditionally had been gotten in our neighborhood, (we bought there because it was a screaming value and underpriced for the city it’s in,) selling for more than 20% more than other recent sales in the area. Some feathers were ruffled in the process, though it provided a very nice comp for the sellers that followed us and reset the neighborhood value.
Point is, MLS will do something if there are complaints, but they do not police the data themselves.
You will note that I wrote potentially MLS. I am not a litigator and would defer to one. I do know that newspaper have been sued and lost for running ads that violate the Fair Housing laws, so I am not sure that Goofy’s “platform” defense is as foolproof as he thinks. I am also not familiar with the structure of the MLS and rules. I know to know that it is not an open platform. One may even be required to be a Realtor™ use post on the local MLS and most likely must be a licensed agent or broker in order to list a property. I do not really know, hence my qualifier, but Peter cam closest to my thinking. At the very least, it should be a question that is analyzed by a qualified, licensed attorney.
Oh I don’t think it’s foolproof by any means. It merely appeared obvious as one (of probably several) possible defenses against that sort of thing.
If someone could show they knowingly printed a false report, or that they are supposed to do diligence on them before publishing (I would look to their fine print), or something else, yeah, then maybe. I’m just saying it’s defensible, not that means it’s a slam dunk. Or even a win, given what goes on in courtrooms these days.
At least in PA, a super litigious state WRT real estate, Realtors carry error and omissions insurance. There are many ways in which these buyers could pursue it, but for some strange reason they choose not to do so. I am not quick to sue either, but it would have been the first thing I did, after asking my agent what her broker was going to do about it.