Glenn Melton thought he was buying the American dream for his daughter. What he got was a neighbor who launches into obscene tirades at any hour.
So Melton sued the man who sold him the house.
At issue is whether the neighbor’s behavior constitutes a nuisance that should have been noted on the “residential seller’s property-disclosure statement” that every home seller has to fill out.
Melton eventually asked the former owner to take the house back. When he refused, Melton sued.
Nathan Thinnes, the former owner, said that he wrestled with whether to disclose the neighbor’s problems but was told not to by his Realtor. (ed. note: bolding mine)
According to court documents, the Realtor denies giving that advice, so Thinnes sued him. And the neighbor and her mother, who lives with her.
Local and national real-estate attorneys are hesitant to comment about the case, partly because Melton and Thinnes are both executives in the real-estate business. (ed note: so what if they are? bolding mine again)
“Is she the ideal neighbor? No,” he said. “Would I want her living next to me now? No. But do I think it rises to the level of broadcasting to the world that you have someone with a disability living next door to you? I don’t think so.”
“Look,” he said. “I don’t care why she’s a nuisance. She could be a neo-Nazi, or she could be a member of the Jackhammer Society.
“Whatever. It doesn’t matter why she’s a nuisance, it’s just that it’s a significant intrusive nuisance, and that’s what he needed to disclose.”
In all honesty, should the NAR step in and give advice?
2. The owner makes no representations with respect to any matters that may pertain to parcels adjacent to the subject parcel and that purchasers are advised to exercise whatever due diligence a particular purchaser deems necessary with respect to adjacent parcels in accordance with terms and conditions as may be contained in the real estate purchase contract, but in any event, prior to settlement on a parcel of residential real property;
I have been trained my entire career that the seller (and Realtor) are responsible for disclosing problems within the four corners of the property; this is a very wide-ranging case and article – read the whole thing. It’s a potentially sticky-wicket, as they say – what if the Realtors’ ethical duties to the clients and the public overlap?
Should the potential buyers have searched for Rotten Neighbors?
(tune in tomorrow for a post about Realtor ethics)