Buyer Beware

Generally speaking, New York is a caveat emptor, or “buyer beware” state in reference to residential real estate transactions.  In other words, the onus is on the buyer to conduct their due diligence before signing the Contract of Sale.  New York Courts have explained the legal doctrine as follows:

New York adheres to the doctrine of caveat emptor and imposes no liability on a seller [or the seller’s agent] for failing to disclose information regarding the premises when the parties deal at arm’s length, unless there is some conduct on the part of the seller[‘s agent] which constitutes active concealment” of a defective condition (Simone v Homecheck Real Estate Serus., Inc., 42 AD3d 518, 520; see Daly v Kochanowicz, 67 AD3d 78, 87; cf. Real Property Law §§ 462, 465).

Moreover, even proof of active concealment will not suffice when the plaintiff should have known of the defect (see Richardson v United Funding, Inc., 16 AD3d 570, 571). A plaintiff seeking to recover damages for active concealment must show that the defendant “thwarted” the plaintiffs efforts to fulfill his or her responsibilities imposed by the doctrine of caveat emptor (Kerusa Co. LLC v W10Z/515 Real Estate Ltd. Partnership, 12 NY3d 236, 245 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Rozen v 7 Calf Cr., LLC, 52 AD3d 590, 593).

See Laxer v. Edelman, No. 2008-04178 (July 20, 2010).

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The Law Offices of Keith R. Betensky, Esq.
The Empire Building
26 Village Green, Suite 4
P.O. Box 22
Bedford, New York 10506-0022
(914) 338-8050

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