Legal Update 2020
Instructor: John Henderson JT@grar.com
No Liability for Incorrect Tax Information
Belizaire v. Keller Williams Landmark II, 2018 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5577,2018 NY Slip Op 51725(U), 61 Misc. 3d 1223(A) (2018)
Supreme Court of New York, Nassau County
Facts: The amount of taxes that the listing agent posted on the MLS data sheet was not correct (it omitted county tax and village tax). The buyers signed a disclosure form acknowledging that the selling agent and brokerage represented the seller and owed no fiduciary duty to the buyer. The buyers did not independently confirm the real estate taxes or investigate the discrepancy. The buyers sued the brokerage firm and its agent for misrepresentation.
Issue: Can the brokerage or agents be held liable for the incorrect tax information shown in MLS?
Held: No - the court applied the doctrine of caveat emptor. The seller’s agent and brokerage owed no fiduciary duty to the buyers and there was no active concealment by the seller or broker. The buyers could have ascertained the correct taxes on the public website.