Caveat Emptor (“Let the Buyer Beware”) Is Still Alive and Well in Ohio

By: Stephen D. Richman, Senior Counsel, Kohrman, Jackson & KrantzThe doctrine of caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) is still alive and well in Ohio, generally precluding recovery in an action by a purchaser against a seller pertaining to a property’s defective condition if:1) the condition complained of is open to observation or discoverable upon reasonable inspection;2) the purchaser had the unimpeded opportunity to examine the premises; and3) there is no fraud on the part of the vendor. Layman v. Binns (1988), 35 Ohio St.3d 176.While Ohio’s Seller Disclosure Act (R.C. 5302.30; the “Disclosure Act”) still requires sellers of most types of residential property to disclose known defects, the Disclosure Act does not directly modify the doctrine of caveat emptor by creating a new statutory fraud claim or by eliminating existing common law claims. In fact, Section 5302.30 (L) of the Disclosure Act makes it…

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