We call hidden defects or latent defects to the problems that we find in a house when we buy it, which at first sight, before the signing of the contract, did not exist or were not appreciated.
Normally, before signing the deeds of a home, you need to do all the necessary checks to know that the property is in the same conditions as the seller has indicated. By law, the seller must take care of those hidden defects of the house, as long as these damages represent a real problem to make use of and live in the property.
The crux of the question is whether or not the seller knows these hidden defects at the time of putting the house for sale and whether the buyer, if known, would have decided or not to buy the house. These two factors are the two essential factors that are taken into account when making a claim.
But in addition, you have to take into account the requirements that a problem in a home must meet so that it can be considered a hidden defect, which are fundamentally the following:
1. The problem or defect should not be visible to the naked eye. It has to be related to defects that are not appreciated at first
2. The defect must be prior to the purchase of the home, never after the signing of the contract
3. The defect must be serious. Gravity may be a subjective concept, but the law states that it is considered serious when it is of such a magnitude that the buyer can´t live in that house, or when, had the buyer known, it had not bought it or paid a price considerably lower.
The claim for hidden defects can be made by the buyer within the legal term of 6 months from the delivery of the home. In this way the second requirement is protected (the defect must be prior to the purchase) since a defect that appears to the years of the purchase, is not considered a hidden defect.
In order to make the claim, it is necessary to prove the hidden defects that are reported, and to provide evidence, all possible to verify that these defects existed before the purchase.
In case the hidden defects are accepted as such (even if the seller did not know them at the time of sale) the buyer has two options:
• Give up the contract and receive the money he paid
• Benefit from a reduction in the price paid for the house. The amount will depend on the value of the damages.