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What are hidden defects, and how to claim them after buying a home?

What are hidden defects and how to claim them after buying a home - What are hidden defects, and how to claim them after buying a home?

The purchase of housing is probably the highest investment made throughout life. But, what firstly should be cause for wellbeing, can become a nightmare if defects appear soon after the buying. In that case, the law protects the buyer, and there are mechanisms to claim hidden defects.

What are hidden defects?

Hidden defects are damages you notice after the acquisition of the property and affect its habitual use. In addition, these severe defects could have provoked the buyer to withdraw from the operation or pay a lower price if he had been aware of them.

It is possible to claim hidden defects if several conditions are met:

1) The damage must not be manifest or visible.
2) It has a specific gravity.
3) It existed before the purchase.

You'll have to prove all these to present the corresponding claim. Besides, it will depend on the type of home you purchased.

Hidden defects in new construction

The Building Regulation Law (Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación) establishes guarantee periods according to the damage:

Ten years for structural defects, that is, in foundations, floors, load-bearing walls, etc. The promoter must take out ten-year insurance to cover damages during that period.

Three years for damages that affect habitability, as would be the case of humidity, defects in the insulation, malfunctioning of the facilities, etc.

One year for defects in finishes, that is, aesthetic.

There is a two-year term to present the claim, and it can be addressed to the developer and to any other agent who had intervened in the construction (architect, construction manager, etc.).

Hidden defects in second-hand homes

Not only in new construction can hidden defects be claimed, but also in second-hand housing. In this case, the claim period is six months from the delivery, and the Civil Code establishes two ways:

Withdrawal from the contract. You can even claim compensation for damages if it can be verified the seller knew about the defects and concealed them on purpose.

• A reduction in the price proportional to the seriousness of the hidden defects.

How to claim hidden defects

Regardless of the type of home or the defect it manifests, it is essential to always keep in mind the deadlines set for submitting the claim. Outside of those two years in new construction or six months in second-hand, there will be no possibility of claiming.

Therefore, notify the presence of these hidden defects as soon as possible. The way to do it is in writing, preferably by burofax (registered fax), that way there will be a record of its delivery. It must notify the type of damage that the property presents, the date of the sale operation and a term for the repair.

Reaching an agreement with the promoter or former owner would be ideal. Otherwise, it would be necessary to go to court with the economic and personal costs that it would have.

The best way to avoid buying a home with hidden defects is to visit it with an architect. If you are in that search process, remember that helps you find the house of your dreams.

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