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Hidden defect or apparent defect? How to tell them apart

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  • Ponce Avocats
  • April 18 2023

When buying a building, it is important to know that the law provides warranties to protect the buyer against latent defects. However, what is a latent defect? How do you distinguish it from an apparent defect?

The conditions to be respected

To be able to obtain compensation from the seller, the problem you have discovered must clearly meet the criteria of a latent defect. For this, the defect must be prior to the sale of the building and it must be hidden, that is to say, it must not be visible to the naked eye or detectable during a visit of inspection.

If the defect is visible during a simple visual inspection, it is considered an "apparent defect". It is therefore important to determine whether another buyer placed in the same circumstances could have observed the defect or detected a clue that could have led to its discovery.

In addition, it should be emphasized that for a defect to be considered a latent defect, it must be material. Indeed, a simple minor defect that can be attributed to the normal wear and tear of the building will not be considered a latent defect.

For a latent defect to be recognized under the law, certain criteria must be met. First of all, the sale of the building must have been accompanied by a legal guarantee. In addition, the defect in question must not be apparent and must be present at the time of purchase. The defect must also be considered serious. Finally, the buyer must have acted prudently and diligently when inspecting the property before proceeding with the purchase.

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