When a seller lists their property for sale, they are usually asked to complete a Property Disclosure Statement form. This document is useful in helping the owner outline any known deficiences or issues with the building or land and helps cursorily describe the property so as to help the buyer make an informed decision.
Usually, the PDS is provided to potential buyers when an offer has been submitted and accepted by the seller. In fact, one of the common subjects (ie. terms) of the offer is that the buyer has time to review the information on the PDS. Once the buyer has considered the information on the PDS, they sign the form and it is considered as part of the offer contract. As a result, if it is later discovered that the seller misrepresented any of the information on the PDS, the buyer can consider recourse against the seller.
Occasionally, sellers choose not to complete the document as they may not have lived on the property such as the case for landlords and heirs of an estate. Or, in the case of foreclosures, the mortgagor (ie. the bank) assumes the role of the seller and cannot provide any guarantees as to the state of the property (nor would they typically have any firsthand knowledge about the property) and so they would not provide a PDS.
The two most often used Property Disclosure Statements are :