Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

''as-is'' real estate laws

Recently purchased a house ''as-is'' but didn't have inspections on all house aspects. Within the first 6 months, I have spent approximately $15,000 on fixing plumbing emergencies, electrical problems, etc that I was not aware were present during purchase of house. Do I have legal rights to sue previous owners for non-disclosure on real estate damages?


Depressed new home owner in

Los Gatos, CA

Asked on 3/30/06, 11:19 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Daniel Harrison Berger Harrison, APC

Re: ''as-is'' real estate laws

Simply because you bought "as is" doesn't mean the sellers no longer have the duty to dislose known material facts relating to the property. The sellers ALWAYS have the duty to disclose known material facts. The key here is "known" or "should have known".

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Answered on 3/30/06, 11:39 am
Ken Koenen Koenen & Tokunaga, P.C.

Re: ''as-is'' real estate laws

First of all, why didn't you have any inspections? You were making one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime, and wouldn't spend $1,000 to make sure of what you were buying.

That being said, the term "as-is" really means "as disclosed". The seller has a duty to disclose to you what he knew or reasonable should have known about the condition of the property. Unfortunately, at this point, the burden of proof will be on you to show that he knew or should have known.

Good luck to you.

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Answered on 3/30/06, 12:25 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: ''as-is'' real estate laws

Civil Code sections 1102 to 1102.18 contain much of the relevant law. The sections are pretty lengthy and have been interpreted and explained by the courts in numerous appellate decisions which are also part of the law, but an average non-lawyer can get a pretty good feel for the disclosure requirements by reading these code provisions.

As the previous replies have pointed out, proof that the seller knew or should have known of the defect may be the greater issue (than whether there was a duty to disclose). If the seller was also the long-term resident, this may be a lot easier, as judges and juries tend to believe occupants know about the semi-hidden defects.

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Answered on 3/30/06, 1:14 pm

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