Pursuing Claims Against Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents and brokers have extensive duties under California law. Specifically, they have a fiduciary duty of utmost care, integrity, honesty and loyalty. They must use reasonable care and skill and, furthermore, must disclose all facts known that materially affect the value and desirability of the property.

A competent agent/broker will act with due diligence by providing all relevant information to the buyer. Properly documenting the agent/broker file is essential to avoid unmeritorious claims. When you think that an agent or broker violated his or her fiduciary duties, get help from the real estate lawyers at Jerry L. Freedman, A Professional Corporation.

Dual Agency In California

Agents can legally be the agent of both buyer and seller, called dual agency, with the consent of the parties. In doing so, the agent has a fiduciary duty to both parties. Buyers and sellers must take precautions to protect their own interests by reading documents carefully and consulting other professionals, if necessary.

Written Disclosure Required For Material Defects

California Civil Code Section 1102 et. seq. requires full written disclosure, by the seller, of the condition of the property. Failure to disclose significant defects or malfunctions will lead to potential liability of the seller as well as agent/broker. The agent has an independent duty to investigate all material facts negatively affecting the value. Agents are also supposed to disclose defects that could be discovered upon reasonable visual inspection.

The seller must advise prospective buyers of the following issues with the property:

  • Pending lawsuits affecting the property
  • Notices from governmental agencies
  • Unpermitted alterations
  • Building code violations
  • Soil problems and encroachments
  • Hazardous waste

Depending on the specific property, there may be other required disclosures. If you think that a seller or agent/broker did not disclose a material defect, talk to an experienced real estate attorney at our office.

Contact Our Westlake Village Office

For protection of your rights in buying and selling property, contact our office or call 805-409-9056 to schedule an initial consultation. We serve clients throughout Southern California, including the areas of Thousand Oaks, Ventura County and Los Angeles County.