Many home sellers mistakenly consider an “AS IS” sales contract as a release from liability for all faulty or defective conditions on the sale of a home. However, under the landmark case of Johnson v Davis, 480 So. 2d 625 (Fla. 1985) the Florida Supreme Court took a different view.
Florida Supreme Court’s View on “AS IS”
In Johnson, the Florida Supreme Court effectively changed the law in Florida holding that where a seller of a home knows of facts materially affecting the value of the home which are not readily observable and are not known to the buyer, the seller is under a duty to disclose those facts to the buyer.
The effect of Johnson does not make a seller of a home a warrantor of the good condition of the home. Slitor v Elia, 544 So. 2d 255 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989). However, recognizing that in the sale of a home, full disclosure of material facts must be made wherever elementary fair conduct demands it, caveat emptor (or let the buyer beware) is not the rule in Florida residential transactions. Therefore, in the sale of a home, if a seller knows something that materially affects the value of the home which is not readily observable, it must be disclosed. Otherwise, the seller may be subject to various fraud claims or breach of contract claims by the buyer.
But my contract expressly states “AS IS”