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Hidden defects – No warranty claims will arise after a house purchase in the event of insulation defects

Warranty rights are generally excluded in house purchase agreements. In the case of so-called hidden defects, which the vendor is aware of, other regulations have to be taken into account.

The Regional Court (Landgericht, LG) in Frankenthal, in its ruling of 24.11.2021 (case reference: 6 O 129/21), had to decide how such hidden defects should be treated from a legal point of view. In 2016, a married couple had bought a residential house in which they themselves wanted to live. Prior to that, the vendors had themselves lived in the house for a number of years. Five years after moving into the property, the married couple then claimed that the roof insulation was defective because unsuitable insulation boards had been installed. Moreover, a so-called vapour barrier was lacking. Therefore, the married couple brought a claim before the LG for an advance payment to cover the cost of the proper installation of insulation in the house – their claim however was not successful.

Outcome: The person who is selling a house does indeed have to point out any hidden deficiencies. That is still true even if the contract excludes a defects warranty. However, in such cases, the buyer would have to prove that the vendor was indeed aware of the issue. Arguing that the vendor should really have recognised the defect is not sufficient. After all, the roof did not leak and nor was it damp.

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