In Hall v. Aurora Loan Services, LLC (2013) 215 Cal.App 4th 1134, the California court of appeals recently held that real estate agents who are showing a property to prospective buyers, or their agents, have a duty to disclose dangerous conditions of which the seller’s agent has actual or constructive knowledge. In the above-stated matter, while being shown the property by the seller’s agent, the potential buyer’s agent was injured when she fell from an attic staircase. The buyer’s agent, the plaintiff, contended that she was injured due to a concealed dangerous condition of the property which was actually known or constructively known by the owner of the property and the listing agent because the dangerous condition had been previously disclosed to them pursuant to a property inspection report.
Noting that Civil Code Section 1714 provided that all people owe a duty of ordinary care to prevent injury to others, the appeals court found that a real estate agent for a property seller has a duty to notify any visitor to the subject property of any concealed dangerous condition of which the agent has knowledge or constructive knowledge. The appeals court further found that an agent’s actual or constructive knowledge is imputed to the property owner—an owner shares liability with an agent for damages proximately caused by the agent’s breach of duty.
Any real estate agent who knows (or should know) of a concealed dangerous condition on the property being shown, must inform any visitor, agent, or potential purchaser of that condition else the agent could be liable, along with the property owner, for any damages that are a result of the concealed condition.
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