Disclosure of Gunnery Range is Required

Question: We purchased our retirement home last August in far north Phoenix near the mountains. Our seller was an investor.  Thus, many of the seller’s answers on the Seller Property Disclosure Statement (“SPDS”) stated “unknown as never lived in house, buyer needs to do own research.” At that time of our home purchase we were unaware that the Ben Avery shooting range was across the freeway, although we went to the home several times before purchasing the home. We never heard gun shots as it was the middle of summer and 110 degrees.

We are miserable in our retirement home now in the winter months, as gunfire begins at exactly 7:00 am every day and continues incessantly until at least 7:00 pm every night. Is the seller liable to us for not disclosing this inferno/nightmare? Is there a way for us to see the SPDS that the investor received from their seller to see if the investor knew about the Ben Avery gun range?

Answer: First, I am a Realtor as well as a real estate attorney, and I am sympathetic to the challenges of Realtors in the field. One constant, however, is that a Realtor should “farm” only a specific community or area, e.g., McCormick Ranch or south Higley. You did not say if you had a Realtor. If you did, that Realtor may have liability to you for your damages i.e., the cost of another retirement home because the Realtor did not know about the Ben Avery shooting range. Second, investors who sell homes usually shield themselves from liability for paying damages to a buyer, e.g., by selling under an LLC or a “no-asset” Trust. Third, you have the right, after filing a lawsuit, to subpoena the file of the investor and the file of the seller who sold the investor the home. Both files should have an SPDS. Finally, and most importantly, after the closing of the sale of the home to the investor, both brokers are required to keep all sale documents, including the SPDS, for five years.

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