Disclosure Law and Legal Definition

Disclosure is required in different contexts, such as real estate transactions and employment law, and is primarily governed by state laws, which vary by state. For example, persons applying for certain jobs, such as working with children or elderly persons, must disclose if they have criminal convictions. In many instances, the duty to disclose is a continuing one, so that a supplemental disclosure must be made to provide additional information when information originally disclosed is determined to be incomplete or inaccurate.

Disclosure of hazardous or defective conditions on real estate is regulated by state law. The law usually requires that potential buyers be told all material facts about the condition of a property for sale. That disclosure has included whether the property is within earthquake fault zones, seismic hazard zones or wildland fire areas, in which fire protection falls under the jurisdiction of the state, a flood hazard area as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or a dam inundation area -- land that could potentially be flooded after a dam failure. Defects listed on a disclosure form may also include appliances, electrical system, water and sewer system, roofing, structural and foundation problems, moisture, and others. Real estate agents may also be required to disclose whether they represent the interests of the buyer or seller.