Rental Property - Win and Surprise Amendments - Week 6 of 2019 Legislative Session

The 2019 Legislative Session is about at its midway point where negotiations over proposed legislation are wrapping up and legislation is either going forward or not.  It is unlikely that a bill still sitting in a committee in its house of origin will move at all, but not impossible.  The two major non-real estate related stories of the week include House Bill No. 372 getting hung up in Senate Judiciary A and the state budget moving to the Senate. 

3 Essentials for Preventing Disputes

Procuring cause is defined as “the uninterrupted series of casual events which results in a successful transaction. If a dispute does arise, your claim of entitlement to a commission hinges on several factors. Avoiding trouble is quite simple. Just do the very best job possible! Here are 3 essentials for preventing disputes

Janice Bolton, REALTOR® of the YEAR

The REALTOR® of the Year Award is given to an individual that is not only an outstanding REALTOR®, businessperson and member of the community, but demonstrates REALTOR spirit daily. Louisiana REALTORS® is very excited to name Janice Bolton as the 2018 REALTOR® of the Year. The announcement was made during our 2019 Spring into Action Conference in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

Digital Driver's License Available for Free Through End of May

As part of an initiative to provide Louisiana citizens with better personal safety and security practices, the State has worked to offer digital licenses for free until the end of May 2019. This initiative by the State and LA Wallet is an effort to provide Louisiana citizens with better tools to validate another citizen’s identity.

Civil Justice Reform in Week 3 of 2019 Legislative Session

The theme of the third week of the 2019 Louisiana Legislative Session was “civil justice reform”.  The House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure heard bills seeking to address laws that many believe are focused on high dollar verdicts rather than accident victims obtaining justice.  In turn, these verdicts can act as an incentive for other citizens to file frivolous lawsuits.  Many believe this litigious climate is one cause for our high insurance rates and one of the primary reasons businesses decline to locate here.

2019 Legislative Session Kicks Off

The 2019 Louisiana Legislative Session started Monday, April 8th. Your Louisiana REALTORS® Bill Review Team, which is made up of members from across the state, met and identified 103 bills that Louisiana REALTORS® will support, oppose, or monitor on your behalf. An interactive Bill Tracking Report contains the position of Louisiana REALTORS® on each of these bills and the status of each bill. 

*Updated with Candidates - Region IV RVP

The position of 2019 Regional Vice President for Region IV (NOMAR) is vacant due to the resignation of Josie DeGrusha. An election to fill this unexpired term will take place on April 24, 2019 at the Region IV Caucus meeting in Baton Rouge. The election to fill the 2019 unexpired RVP term will occur in addition to the election of the 2020 RVP. 

NAR Committee Applications for 2020 Now Open

Louisiana REALTORS encourages its members to participate in committees at the local, state, and national level. The committee application process for the National Association of REALTORS is now open and the deadline to submit is May 1, 2019.

Understanding the Duty to Notify of Obtain and Maintain

REALTORS® have contacted LR to inquire about how to find the necessary information to complete the sample addendum as it applies to the Obtain and Maintain Insurance requirement when their sellers do not know the amount of FEMA aid received by previous owners of the property.  In a State that sees flooding every year, and no region is safe from water intrusion,  it is no surprise this is a wide-spread concern.  A second addendum is being provided along with understanding the duty to notify.

Breaking News: Email Phishing Attempt with NAR

Email Phishing Attempt Reported

If you receive an email with the subject line “*Please Read** Important Updated & Changes to 2019 Member Roster”, be aware that it is not from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Member Survey: Tell Us About Important Issues

What are the important issues to you in state politics, your business, and your membership in Louisiana REALTORS®?  We want to know where you are on the issues of the day, what challenges you face with your business, and how can we better help you succeed as a REALTOR®.

Louisiana Associations Recognized for Excellence in Advocacy

Each year the National Association of REALTORS® awards the Triple Crown and the President’s Cup to the Associations around the country who dedicate time and effort to acheiving REALTOR® Party goals. Many local associations step up to the plate and make these goals happen and Louisiana is proud to recognize the efforts of many people to get us there!

2018 Award Nominations

Nominations are now open for Louisiana REALTORS® REALTOR® of the Year & Lawrence R. DeMarcay, Jr. Distinguished Service Award. Nominees can be submitted and recipients will be recognized at a luncheon during the Spring Into Action Conference held in April. Both awards are aimed to showcase an individual who has volunteered their time in service of the real estate industry. Deadline to submit nomindations is March 1, 2019.

2020 LR Officer Candidate Application

2020 LR Officer Candidate Application

Candidate applications for 2020 Louisiana REALTORS Officers and Regional Vice Presidents is now available. Deadline to submit is March 1, 2019. 

Trial Court Decision Affecting Property Disclosure Document Reversed

By:  Patricia B. McMurray, JD
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
450 Laurel Street, Chase Tower North, 20th Floor
Baton Rouge, Louisiana  70801

Background

           In Valobra v. Nelson, the buyer sued the seller alleging the seller misrepresented the condition of the property by checking the "no" box on the Property Disclosure Document ("PDD") instead of the "no knowledge" box as to questions regarding the condition of the property.[1]  The buyers allege because of this misrepresentation by the sellers on the PDD, the buyers agreed to buy the property "as is" and waive redhibition rights in the Act of Sale. Redhibition is a warranty required by state law to be given to a buyer unless waived by the buyer.  Redhibition means the buyer can sue to return the property to the seller or get a refund of a portion of the purchase price after the sale if the buyer discovers a defect in the property that if the buyer had known about prior to the sale he would not have bought the property.[2]  The Valobra buyers alleged that the sellers checked the box marked "no" in response to questions on the PDD regarding whether the property had certain defects.  Defects in the property were later discovered.  The sellers then claimed they did not know of the defects in the property.[3]  The buyers argued that the sellers checking the box marked "no" instead of the box marked "no knowledge" on the PDD and therefore intentionally misled the buyers into believing that the sellers had knowledge that there were no defects in the property.  The buyers alleged the sellers were in bad faith and fraudulently induced the sellers to execute a waiver of redhibition contained in the Act of Sale by stating "no" instead of "no knowledge" of the defects.[4] 

24th Judicial District Court

           The trial court, the 24th Judicial District Court denied the motion for summary judgment filed by the Seller on March 25, 2018.  The Seller alleged in the motion that there appears to be no controversy over whether the Buyer was aware of the alleged "defects" at the time of execution of the waiver of redhibition included in the Act of Sale as the Seller and Buyer had agreed to a price concession to compensate the Buyer for the "defects" noted by the home inspection prior to sale.  The Seller filed a Writ to the Court of Appeal requesting the Court of Appeal revise the trial court's denial of the motion for summary judgment. 

         Louisiana REALTORS® filed an amicus brief in support of the Seller's Writ.  The Court of Appeal held that the


"Plaintiff's (Buyers) argument failed to recognize that the Property Disclosure required by the RPDA (property disclosure form) does not provide a guaranty that no defects exist in the property, but rather requires disclosures of known defects to the best of the seller's information, knowledge or belief.  La. R.S. 9:3198(D) specifically states a property disclosure document is not a warranty and is not part of any contract between the buyer and seller.  In addition, buyers, such as plaintiffs, cannot rely on the property disclosure document as a substitution for inspections.  Therefore, plaintiffs cannot use their alleged reliance on the Property Disclosure as an excuse for failing to obtain a comprehensive home inspection or failing to follow the advice of the inspectors to obtain more extensive inspections." (explanation supplied)

The Writ was granted by the Court of Appeal and the reversal of the denial of the motion for summary judgment was granted.  All claims against the Seller by the Buyers were dismissed.  A full copy of the Court of Appeal's Judgment can be found here.

Louisiana Supreme Court

           The Buyers filed an Application for Writ of Certiorari with the Louisiana Supreme Court on January 16, 2019 requesting a review of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal Judgment.  We will provide information on the outcome of the appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court when available.


[1]  Nancy Williams wife of/and Franco Valobra vs. Robert Allan Nelson and Jerome Garfield Smith, III as Co-Trustees of the Allan R. & Louise S. Nelson Revocable Trust & The Allan R. Nelson Marital Trust, Suit No. 720-048, 24th Judicial District Court for Jefferson Parish

[2]  La. Civil Code 2520

[3]  Id.

[4]  Id.