I assist Buyers and Sellers with For Sale By Owner (FSBO) real estate transactions. If you are buying or selling a home and need assistance with the legal paperwork, contact my office for help and check out my flat fee Real Estate FSBO packages here.
Below is a recent question I answered on Justia.com regarding required Seller Disclosures when selling a home in Wisconsin. Readers should be aware that new Real Estate Condition Report disclosures went into effect on July 1, 2018. If you are buying or selling a home, make sure you are using the latest Real Estate Condition report to ensure the contract and home sale/purchase is legally binding.
Q: Are home sellers in Wisconsin legally required to disclose a mice infestation?
My husband and I purchased a house yesterday. I few hours later while cleaning the kitchen, I noticed mice feces behind the fridge and that the seller left a set mouse trap and rodent poisoning under the kitchen sink. This was not something the seller disclosed to us. They checked no to everything on the disclosure form. Not sure if this is something that should’ve been legally reported to us?(Home was purchased in Wisconsin). I would’ve never bought the home with a known mice infestation given they can pose a heath risk and I’ve had respiratory issues in the past. Nothing was picked up on our home inspection completed prior to purchase, but the inspectors report does have a disclaimer related rodents. I haven’t noticed any other defects caused by mice. We are having an exterminator come investigate.
Attorney Thomas B. Burton Response:
A: Check and see if your Seller used the new Real Estate Condition Report that is required after July 1, 2018. On the new report, question C5 relates to animals and pests and states "Are you aware of current or previous termite, powder post beetle, or carpenter ant infestations or defects caused by animal, reptile, or insect infestations?" Question C18 on the old form states "I am aware of current or previous termite, powder post beetle or carpenter ant infestations or defects caused by animal or other insect infestations." It sounds like your buyer checked "No" to this question on the Real Estate Condition report. The question will likely come down to whether there was mice "infestation" and whether there were defects caused by the "infestation" if there was one, or whether there were some mice from time to time. I would examine your options with a real estate litigation attorney as soon as possible in case there is any option for you to undo the contract if you wish.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. You should seek a consultation with a licensed attorney in your area if you seek a complete review and discussion of your situation.