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Obde v. Schlemeyer - 56 Wash. 2d 449, 353 P.2d 672 (1960)

Rule:

Where there are concealed defects in demised premises, dangerous to the property, health or life of the tenant, which defects are known to the landlord when the lease is made, but unknown to the tenant, and which a careful examination on his part would not disclose, it is the landlord's duty to disclose them to the tenant before leasing, and his failure to do so amounts to a fraud. This rule is equally applicable to the vendor-purchaser relationship.

Facts:

Plaintiffs filed an action for damages for fraudulent concealment of termite infestation in an apartment house that they bought from defendants. The court found for plaintiffs and awarded them damages. On appeal, the court affirmed, holding that because defendants had knowledge of the infestation prior to the sale, and plaintiffs could not have reasonably discovered the defect, defendants had a duty to disclose the infestation and its failure to do so was fraudulent.

Issue:

Does the failure of defendants to disclose the defects in the sold property tantamount to fraud and entitles the plaintiffs to damages?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court affirmed the ruling of the lower court, holding that since there were concealed defects in the premises that are dangerous to the property, health or life of plaintiffs, defendants had a duty to disclose them to plaintiffs, and its failure to do so was fraudulent.

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