1. Did you hire the inspector that made the determination of the alleged roof defects?
2. Is the inspector licensed to issue legitimate assessments of roofs (many states have no requirement whatsoever for "home inspectors").
Just because some third party makes a determination about an alleged defect on your property does not mean it's true, and not laced with opinions intended to benefit the inspector's client (not you). You have no obligation to disclose an alleged defect--just a real one--one that you've experienced personally, or that you have personal awareness.
As a caveat you would want to insert into your Disclosures something to the effect: "Seller is not personally aware of any defect involving the roof, but recommends a professional inspection of same".
Always answer the should I disclose question with the above. Always.
Even if you had a leak ten years ago and had it fixed disclose both facts. Always disclose everything you know that might be able to be construed as a material fact affecting the value being placed on the property by a buyer.
The long answer is:
Our state (California) law is no longer "buyer beware"; now it is "seller beware." In 1975, the state Legislature recognized the special duty of disclosure on the sale of houses and other property and enacted a statute that requires the seller of property to deliver a document, called a transfer disclosure statement(TDS), that contains information regarding the condition of the property.
The disclosure statement must contain specific information regarding things such as appliances and improvements on the property, their condition, and any defects or malfunctions of the improvements. It includes features shared in common with other owners (such as a driveway, a wall or a fence, encroachments or anything built or located over the property lines) and easements, additions, alterations, or modifications made without permits or not in conformance with building codes.
Also, the disclosure must contain information about any fill soil on the property, flooding problems, major damage to the property, zoning violations, noise problems or nuisances, deed restrictions, whether the property is covered by a homeowners association and any lawsuits affecting the property.
In addition to the statutory duties contained on the disclosure statement, any fact known to the seller that affects the desirability of the property also must be disclosed.
Lastly, if you were the buyer of said property would you want the seller to disclose the past roof issue?
It's pretty simple.
The plain and simple maxim for these types of situations:
"When in doubt, disclose." ... This is "cheap insurance".
Non-disclosure of material fact is the #1 reason Sellers are sued by Buyers.
You can add to your dislcosure that the problem has been resolved, fixed or replaced but make sure that you have the document to support it.
The reason why is that the California Legislature has said the duty to disclose residential property conditions and information is broad as disclosure materials and statements are valuable to California residential real estate buyers. The notion underlying this is that unlike 'sophisticated' commercial property transactions â€” whereby the parties are assumed to have experience and knowledge of what they're getting into and/or the bargaining power to impact the bargain struck substantially â€” residential buyers don't. THe two relevant places to look at within the California Civil Code at sections 1102.1 and 2079.
In relevant part, agents are "to disclose to [a] prospective purchaser all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property that an investigation would reveal...." And "any fact materially affecting the value and desirability of the property," is taken to include the physical conditions of the property and
previously received reports of physical inspections." There you have it folks!
Let's put it that way: once the former buyers discovered the problems, you became aware of it and it is a known fact to you. You can't say that you didn't know about the roof anymore, that is why you fixed it. You should present the report together with the proof of repair.
On a different note, presenting the previous buyers reports will save time, energy and negotiation efforts because the next potential buyers will know what to expect and they will take any repairs into consideration while making an offer.
Alina Aeby-Broker Associate
Pacific Union International
You had the "roof fixed", so you have nothing to worry about - save the receipt, and any warranty the roofer offered on the repair.
Do you have any concerns the roof needed more than just that quick "fix"?
If so, you might want to get something in writing from your roofer that says the roof is free from leaks and not in need of replacement.
Seems unusual the buyers would walk away from something as simple as a roof repair, especially since you were willing to deal with it....unless their inspector suggested it needed to be replaced.
In SF, we have a supplement to that disclosure that asks for any previous reports. That would be place I would disclose that. You aren't in SF, so that doesn't help you, but it is a good tickler for our clients to do that.
In short, more is better. You will never lose sleep telling someone everything, but you will if you ever wonder if you get caught not saying something and then the new buyer makes a big deal out of it.
All the best