That Sinking Feeling
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
| Cherokee Sink sinkhole, near Wakulla Springs|
Orlando REALTOR® | May/June 2013
Don't allow a non-disclosed sinkhole report to swallow your transaction
By Grace Anne Glavin, Esq.
Section 627.7073 of the Florida Statutes requires an insurance company that pays a claim for sinkhole loss involving real property to record in the public records a report that includes:
- the name of the property owner;
- the legal description of the property affected;
- the tax folio number; and
- the geological and engineering reports indicating evidence of prior sinkhole activity and property damage, including the nature of the structural damage and the amount of claim paid.
Does the filing of this information create a lien on the property?
No, the recording of the report and its contents does not constitute a lien, an encumbrance, a restriction, or a defect on the title to the property.
Does the recorded sinkhole report constitute an exception to title on the conveyed property?
No, the report neither constitutes an exception to title nor is it considered any breach of good title under the contract for sale and purchase.
What could happen to the transaction when there is such a report on the property?
The law (Section 627.7073(2)(c) of the Florida Statutes) requires the seller to disclose in writing the sinkhole report, and the seller should be informed of his duty to do so well in advance of the closing.
If a property’s sinkhole report is not disclosed and then discovered in Public Records, could the buyer terminate his obligation to close under the inspection clause?
An attorney should be the one to review the situation and advise your seller as to whether or not the failure to disclose the existence of report on the seller’s disclosure form would excuse the buyer from the contract. The title insurance commitment could show this report as an "informational note.”
Grace Anne Glavin, Esq., Law Offices of Grace Anne Glavin, P.A., and Mortgage Title Company, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also a founding board member of the Central Florida Real Estate Council.
CFREC provides this column on real estate law issues as a service to ORRA members to provide a general understanding of the law on various topics of interest, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation, and should not be relied on in specific situations without consulting with a real estate attorney. For more information, please visit www.centralflrec.com.