What happens if in a newly acquired property appear structural damages of such magnitude that in the event of having known that, the house would have not been bought or would have had an evident discount on the purchase price? These are the so-called hidden faults.

This is about deal with significant damage and not with so-called defects in the finishing of newly built houses.

It is not rare that in the purchase of home between private individuals, constructive damages of greater or lesser importance appear during the lapse of 6 months, being a case that occurs more frequently than is thought, since our Civil Code establishes that in those cases and as long as certain circumstances occur, the buyer may claim to the seller as long as those damages occur within the period of 6 months and bring the claim within that period.

Without exhaustive intention we could identify as more usual hidden faults in the buildings, the following;

Humidity and filtering deriving from defects in roofing, flooring, etc.; serious cracks; defects in flooring, paints, finishes; landslide of bricks or coating material, etc., and other more serious such as those affecting the structure of the building and the foundations, which are serious and pose a risk to people.

As you can see the range of damage or flaws, is extensive, and goes from the least serious to the very serious, hence when a home buyer faces a case of this type whatever it may be the appearance of such flaws, it is convenient to be always advised by an expert.

From the delivery and the taking possession of the housing, the term called of expiration is of 6 months. We warn you of the care you must take in these cases because if there is something that interrupts it, its period immediately continues counting the days prior to the disrupting cause.

For instance, if an injunction is submitted during this time, the deadline is paused and this time limit is resumed, starts counting again, given that the previous period is no longer cancelled.

If the buyer has a case of hidden faults as injured he may carry out some of the following actions within 6 months against the seller:

– He could choose between withdrawing the contract by paying the expenses he paid, or

-reducing a proportional amount of the price, according to the expert’s point of view.

Many are the cases that Carlos Baño León Abogados, has processed and for illustrative purposes only we refer to two lawsuits won by this law firm. In this particular case, you can see that the Courts confirmed the judicial claim in favor of the buyer.

In the cases of new home purchases, the action to be taken won’t be this one but those derived from the Building Ordinance Law which establishes cases of ten years’ liability and bimonthly and annual liability.

This obligation of the seller to respond within this period of 6 months has a contractual nature.

Having said that, does this mean that if damages of such magnitude appear after the aforesaid 6 months of the home purchase, the buyer of the acquired property from a private individual would not have protection? Well in this case no, since it is very clear that the buyer would still have his rights but now the regulation is different.

The sanitation of hidden faults operates as the objective possibility that we have said, but this won’t go further because the Law considers that it is the responsibility of the buyer to verify the condition of the property he buys and the seller must have a responsibility and that is he should never go beyond, since he wasn’t the builder of the house and it is the buyer who must address his claim against the developer/builder

The seller shall never be liable for the sanitation of hidden faults in the following cases:

  1. If the damage was evident, at first sight.
  2. If the buyer is an expert who, by reason of his profession, should easily have known them.
  3. If the buyer and seller expressly agree that the seller is not liable, this case will only operate if the seller has acted in good faith, because if the seller knows the hidden damage of the property no matter how much he agrees to his exemption of liability, it won’t be operational and the buyer could claim it.
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