Actual Notice in Real Estate

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  • 0:04 Actual Notice in Real Estate
  • 1:09 Examples
  • 3:19 Constructive Notice in…
  • 3:47 Example
  • 4:19 Comparisons
  • 4:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tisha Collins Batis

Tisha is a licensed real estate agent in Texas. She holds bachelor's in legal studies and a master's degree in criminal justice.

This lesson will define actual notice as it pertains to real estate and provide examples to help the reader understand the term. Additionally, actual notice will be compared with constructive notice in real estate.

Actual Notice in Real Estate

Morgan wanted to buy a house but she was a little uncertain about the process. She heard a story from her friend Sharon who had just bought a house without realizing that there was an easement on the property. Due to the easement, Sharon had to share her driveway with a neighbor. If Sharon had known that, she wouldn't have bought the house. Morgan found out that, when buying her home, Sharon had paid cash and didn't use a real estate agent. Morgan didn't want this to happen to her, so she took the time to go down to the county courthouse and look up all of the information she could find about the property she wanted to buy. Everything about the legal status of the property, including the easement, was on record.

When a person has direct knowledge of a real estate transaction, they have actual notice. There are two types of actual notice: express actual notice and implied actual notice. Express actual notice occurs when an individual has personally been given notice about a property. Implied actual notice occurs when an average person has witnessed something that provided them with information about the real property.

Examples of Actual Notice

Ashley is an escrow officer at a title company. She has been working on the escrow file for the home that Morgan purchased. Once Morgan and the seller signed the purchase contract, it was sent to Ashley to make sure everything was in order before Morgan and the seller signed the final paperwork. Ashley's process included a title search, ordering a survey, and checking into all financial interests in the property. Once all of this was complete and all notifications, such as the final survey and the title commitment, were sent, the account was ready to be closed. After the sale was complete, the information went to the county office to be recorded. Ashley, having been involved in this entire process, had actual notice in real estate. Furthermore, the real estate agent's work on behalf of the buyer and seller each had actual notice as well.

Briana leases a house and has been having some problems. Everything seems to be breaking and the landlord isn't fixing anything. Briana has called him several times and even sent him emails. First, it was the dishwasher. Next, the hot water heater went out. Finally, in 100-degree weather, the air conditioner went out. Now, the landlord isn't even answering Briana's calls. She writes him a letter listing everything that is broken and sends it to the landlord by certified mail. The landlord signs the certified mail receipt, showing that he has received the letter. The landlord now has express actual notice of the property.

Steven rented an apartment a few months ago and his washing machine just backed up, creating a small flood. While he was cleaning up, the landlord knocked on the door. He helped Steven clean up the mess and made arrangements for a plumber to come and fix the problem. At the time, Steven's wife was on the phone with a friend complaining that the stove only worked half the time and that she was tired of eating microwaveable meals every day. The landlord overheard, looked over at the stove, and said, ''My goodness, if it's not one thing, it's another.'' The landlord wasn't informed of the problem directly by Steven's wife, but he became aware of the problem by overhearing the conversation. In this case, the landlord received implied actual notice.

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