A real estate purchase is a complicated process, involving myriad legal regulations, financial guidelines and unfamiliar, technical terminology. One such term that arises amid legal disputes in real estate is "declarant," which simply means a party that makes a declaration.
Brass Tacks and Declarants
A declarant, in legal use, is an individual or entity that makes a declaration. This could be you, if you're signing a statement of your income and assets to qualify for a loan. It could be a seller, who's pledging that his property is habitable and has no liens or back taxes owed. It could be the agent who's revealing his fees and commissions. It could be a title company that is promising the title to the property is free and clear. When associated with a planned development or condominium, a declarant is the party -- usually the developer -- that sets conditions on the sale and use of a property.
A Troubling Term
Although several declarants can be involved in a real estate transaction, you never want to come across the term in any real estate dealing. If you do, it probably means civil litigation or other legal conflict is pending. During negotiations and at closing, participants are known by their actions -- buyers, sellers, agents and lenders. The term "declarant" only comes up when a dispute arises or when a signed statement is now subject to examination by the authorities.
When you sign a real estate document, you'll see a dire warning in fine print, somewhere near the signature line. The language is specific and controlled by state or federal law and reads something like this: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the above statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge." When you sign such a "perjury statement," you are promising that your declaration is true and have established yourself as the legal declarant.
Finding the Fine Print
Declarants also arise when any paperwork is filed with the government. This could mean an application for transfer of title, the filing of property tax statements or a signed statement to an assessor. It is vital to read the perjury statement or other fine print near a signature line, as it may contain conditions and rules that don't appear in the body of the document. And even though you may be identified as a "buyer," "seller," "agent" or "representative" on a signed statement, the act of signing it makes you the legal declarant.
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