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SC code (license law) 40-57-350:
(G)(1) A licensee shall treat all parties honestly and may not knowingly give them false or misleading information about the condition of the property which is known to the licensee. A licensee is not obligated to discover latent defects or to advise parties on matters outside the scope of the licensee’s real estate expertise. Notwithstanding another provision of law, no cause of action may be brought against a licensee who has truthfully disclosed to a buyer a known material defect.
(2) No cause of action may be brought against a real estate brokerage firm or licensee by a party for information contained in reports or opinions prepared by an engineer, land surveyor, geologist, wood destroying organism control expert, termite inspector, mortgage broker, home inspector, or other home inspection expert, or other similar reports.
(3) A licensee, the real estate brokerage firm, and the broker-in-charge are not liable to a party for providing the party with false or misleading information if that information was provided to the licensee by the client or customer and the licensee did not know the information was false or incomplete.
(H) Nothing in this chapter limits the obligation of the buyer to inspect the physical condition of the property.
SECTION 27-50-70. Listing agent to notify owner of disclosure obligations; liability for refusal or inaccuracy of disclosure statement.
(A) A listing agent or any real estate licensee operating for any party in a residential real estate transaction must inform in writing each owner covered by the listing agreement of the owner’s obligations prescribed in this article. If the listing agent performs this duty, he is not liable for the owner’s refusal or failure to provide a prospective purchaser with a disclosure statement.
(B) This article does not conflict with or alter the duties of the real estate licensee pursuant to the regulations of the commission. The real estate licensee, whether acting as the listing agent or selling agent, is not liable to a purchaser if:
(1) the owner provides the purchaser with a disclosure form that contains false, incomplete, or misleading information; and
(2) the real estate licensee did not know or have reasonable cause to suspect the information was false, incomplete, or misleading.
HISTORY: 2002 Act No. 336, Section 2.
There is a SC Court of Appeals best case for a seller disclosure liability shield called Chastain v. Hiltabidle (2008-2009). Precedent case law on a house sale with a prior flood issue where the seller failed to disclose on the seller disclosure and real estate brokerage was unaware of the prior flood issue. No liability for the brokerage without knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect the seller disclosure was false or incomplete or misleading.
Good risk management: always require a seller disclosure as part of your SCR lisiting agreement for all real estate deals because of the statutory and case law risk management benefits. SC seller disclosure has questions that are even applicable to raw land deals and new construction and commercial deals.
Posted by: Byron King on 10/02/19 (This information is only accurate as of 10/02/19. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 10/02/19 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at screaltors.org)