Faults in a co-operative apartment / tenancy owned apartment

When buying an apartment the law does not obligate you to inspect the apartment before buying. However it is common that an admonition to conduct an inspection is included in the purchasing agreement. In such cases the buyer should inspect the apartment or try to have the condition removed from the agreement.

If the condition of the apartment is not in accordance with what was agreed upon when purchasing it then it is deficient. An apartment is also deficient if it deviates from what the buyer could have reasonably expected when purchasing it. The seller is responsible for all guarantees and promises towards the buyer, both spoken and written.

The seller is also responsible for so called hidden deficiencies. A hidden deficiency is something the buyer could not be expected to have discovered during the inspection. If the deficiency is considered to be something the buyer could have discovered the seller is relieved from responsibility.

If there is a deficiency in the apartment the buyer can demand that the seller remedies the deficiency or refunds some of the money. The refund should correspond to the negative impact of the deficiency (the difference between the price of the apartment according to the contractual state and the price of a deficient apartment). The price of remedying the deficiency is often used as a guide for estimating the impact. If the deficiency is of significant importance to the buyer he/she have the right to rescind the agreement. In some cases the buyer has the right to damages. 

If the buyer discovers a deficiency in the apartment he/she shall give notice to the seller within a reasonable timeframe. If such notice has not been given the buyer might lose his/her right to make any claims based on the deficiency. In any case the right to make such claims is limited to two years after gaining access to the apartment. If the seller has been grossly negligent or has acted in bad faith the two year limit can be breached. When encountering a deficiency the buyer should contact the seller immediately in a written message in order for him not to lose his right to make claims.

When purchasing an apartment it is important that the sales contract reflect the wishes of the contacting parties as far as possible. Since the sales contract is of significant importance in a dispute it is important that both the seller and the buyer are aware of the implications of the contract and how it affects their possibilities to make claims against the other party. For someone who does not regularly buy or sell apartments it is a good idea to have a lawyer go through the sales contract before signing it. This way uncertainties can be avoided, and the contract can be adjusted to better represent the intents and wishes of both parties.

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