In a competitive seller’s market, buyers often try to be creative when presenting an offer in hopes of having their offer accepted out of the multiple offers a seller receives.
One question coming up on the PAR Legal Hotline with increasing frequency is buyers wanting to waive receipt of condominium association or planned community association documents, along with their right to void an Agreement of Sale within five days of receiving the documents. In short, this attempted waiver does not track with the requirements of the law, and may not be enforceable against a buyer who elects to terminate for this reason.
As a brief overview, the Uniform Condominium Act and the Uniform Planned Community Act require sellers to provide buyers with relevant condominium documents or planned community documents as part of the sale of a unit. In short, sellers of units are required to provide a copy of the bylaws, rules and regulations and a certificate relating to certain items.
To help protect buyers, the laws further provide that buyers have the right to void an Agreement of Sale until either five days after receipt of association documents or closing, whichever is earlier.
Without going into the gory details of a thorough legal analysis, the obligations of both laws apply to “all units subject to” the relevant law. Both acts contain language that the obligations, protections and rights “may not be varied by agreement, and . . . may not be waived,” unless there is an express waiver provision in the law. (See 68 Pa. C.S. § 4104 and § 5104.) The laws do expressly allow for waiver of providing association documents in very limited circumstances, but those waivers are limited to the nonresidential use of a unit or by buyers who are in the business of buying and selling units.
Because there is no waiver provision for residential transactions, the law appears to say that buyers are not able to waive receipt of association documents as part of their offers. Nor are buyers able to waive their right to void the Agreement of Sale. Any effort to waive either receipt of the association documents or to waive a buyer’s right to void the agreement could therefore be unenforceable by a seller.
Listing agents discussing an offer with this sort of term should be aware that a seller may not be able to enforce it and should discuss with their sellers whether this term should have any impact on their decision to accept one offer over another.