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Agent Liability – Personal Injuries to Minor

Type Matter:  Real Estate Agent Liability
Issue:  Can a real estate Agent be held liable for personal injuries to a minor child of homeowner who walked thru code violating, non-tempered glass?
Answer:  No

Facts:  Buyers purchased a home near the beach with an ocean view. After inspection, Buyer’s were not told that certain glass windows were in violation of code in that they were not made from tempered glass. Soon after close of escrow, the Buyer’s minor children accidently walked thru the glass, suffering serious personal injuries. Buyers sued the Sellers, the Inspector and both real estate Brokers and Agents.

Results:  The court on Demurrer held for the real estate Brokers.  The court ruled that a Broker has no duty to a minor child of a Buyer, assuming that Buyer’s child was not an actual purchaser of the property, was not a listed Buyer on the purchase agreement and was not named on title.

Lesson:  When selling a property, even if one knows minor children will reside in the home, pay attention to the actual names on the contract and title. If the entire family is not specifically named on both contract and title, an Agent should have no legal duty to the family. Despite this court protection, be aware of potential issues involving windows and glass. Better to focus and prevent the issue than be forced to retain counsel and defend a legal action.

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