Latent Defect Law and Legal Definition

A latent defect is one which could not be discovered using ordinary and reasonable care in inspection. It is a hidden or dormant defect in a product, premises, or title to real property that cannot be discovered by observation or a reasonably careful inspection.

For example, if a landlord makes a reasonably careful inspection of a premises and does not find a defect, he/she may not liable to the tenant for any resulting injuries of such defect. However, if the landlord is aware of such a defect and the defect is not apparent to the tenant, the landlord may be liable to the tenant for any injury resulting from the defect when the landlord fails to disclose the defect to the tenant.