Are We Required to Disclose Road and Sidewalk Construction to Prospective Renters?

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“We own and rent property in a neighborhood cul-de-sac that is somewhat rural/suburban.  A very quiet neighborhood located 5 miles from things like stores, restaurants, businesses.  It is nice because people can “go to town” when they want and then come home away from it. That is all changing now, a few years back the city and state decided that they would build an overpass along the highway just outside the cul-de-sac on which our rental property is located.  Normally, the highway is separated by a small road, then a sizable division made up of land and trees approximately 50ft. wide, so it provides some separation from any traffic noise.  But because of growth here, traffic is really picking up throughout the whole area. Hence, the new widening of the normally separated four lane highway (two lanes one direction and two lanes the other).  The widening also includes an overpass bridge, maybe 1/8th of a mile from the neighborhood, the tearing down of the space between the small road and neighborhood, and the building of a two-lane one-way frontage road eliminating the current two-way road.  The placement of this frontage road will end up less than 100ft from our rental property!  Plus they are also installing a sidewalk!  This project has started and will continue for a minimum of 2 years, possibly 3, according to the engineer.

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We have always kept our rentals up and enjoy tenants that are exceptional.  We will be losing one of the tenants on one side of the duplex, and, finally, here is the $64 question.  Are we as landlords responsible to disclose all this to prospective tenants?  We have already heard that some residents are very upset over this and will not renew their leases.  Would or could we be held responsible for not disclosing this since it could be a deal breaker on them signing a lease?”

As an attorney, nearly 100% of the time I am asked “Should I disclose . . .” the answer is yes.

Consider it this way: If you disclose, the risk is that you’ll lose this tenant and have to find a new one.  If you don’t, the risk is that you’ll get a tenant who turns around and sues you as soon as they notice the construction work.  Which would you rather have?

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Author: House Attorney

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