If you plan to buy or sell property in New York, it is essential that you thoroughly review and comprehend the state’s disclosure laws. You must also fill out or receive the Property Condition Disclosure Statement, which you can find at the New York Department of State website. The purpose of this disclosure statement is to ensure that a prospective buyer is aware of certain conditions or information regarding a property before committing to the investment.

The statement itself contains language that warns buyers that the document is not a warranty of any kind, and nor is it a substitute for any home tests or inspections. State law encourages buyers of real estate to obtain independent professional assessments, including environmental tests, and to review public records pertaining to a property. Failure to do one’s due diligence is not a cause for legal action.

That said, if a seller knowingly makes false declarations on the disclosure statement, or if the seller provides incomplete information, the buyer may file a legal claim against the seller for monetary compensation. Of course, a claim is only necessary if the buyer discovers a costly issue of which the disclosure statement should have made him or her aware.

The disclosure statement is a length, six-page checklist that asks the seller to make representations about the property based on actual knowledge. Some such information the statement asks the seller to reveal include information regarding the building’s age, whether or not another party has a claim in the property, if any part of the property is located in a floodplain and if the site of the property was ever part of a landfill.

This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.