Is a Seller Liable for unknown Defects in Home Sale in New Mexico?
Disclosure of hazardous or defective conditions on real estate is regulated by state law. The law usually requires that potential buyers be told all material facts about the condition of a property for sale. Defects listed on a disclosure form may also include appliances, electrical system, water and sewer system, roofing, structural and foundation problems, moisture, and others. Latent defects are problems with the property that the buyer or buyer’s agent is not able to discover through a normal inspection. It is a hidden or dormant defect in a premise that cannot be discovered by observation or a reasonably careful inspection. Some states interpret latent defects to mean structural items (including foundational problems) and safety items. The disclosure laws typically require material or important defects to be disclosed. Disclosure of environmental risks, particularly the ones that pose health hazards, may also be information that must be disclosed. A leaking underground oil tank or the presence of a nearby nuclear power plant for example must be disclosed to the buyer.
New Mexico doesn't have a state law requiring the seller to disclose defects. You may wish to consult the local housing or building department for any applicable local regulations or ordinances.
The law generally does not require a seller to disclose a defect in residential property of which he is not aware. The relationship between a buyer and seller of real estate is created by contract, and the terms of the contract generally determine the rights of the buyer and seller. You should carefully review the terms of your real estate contract to determine your rights and obligations regarding defects in the property. The answer to your question may depend on whether the seller provided a disclosure form to you and if so, whether it contained required information. If the seller provided a warranty, there may be recourse through a breach of warranty claim. Also important is whether you elected to have a home inspection performed and whether that inspection revealed any problems.