Duty of Disclosure in Property Sales

I read in a legal journal that the seller of a property has the duty to disclose any facts that may alter the buyer’s decision to purchase the property or the alter his bid.
See Real Estate Laws and Regulations Portugal 2022 at Real Estate Laws and Regulations Report 2023 Portugal section 7.2 & 7.3.
I signed a purchase agreement on a 2nd floor apartment in Portugal in late August and closed in late October. In early December, about five weeks later, a leak sprung that damaged the ceiling and wall of the tenant below. The leak is not in plain view and so the plumber has to do an expensive gas and infrared light test to pinpoint the hole. The tenet below told me that the same leak occurred a year ago and the landlord did not fix it properly. There is a slim chance that my homeowner’s insurance will cover this as the tenant below informed the insurance inspector that it was pre-existing. The cost of finding and fixing the leaking pipe will likely be high as I imagine the bathroom floor will need to be excavated.

The previous owner very recently informed me, when asked about the recurring leak, that he could not find the leak a year ago and made no repairs. He stated that his plumber cleaned the “limpeza de caixa” (the little septic/cleaning box in the floor of the bathroom that looks like a drain with a cap or lid on it) and since then, it did not leak.

I will seek legal advice but before I do, I was wondering if anyone has any experience in the legalities of real estate disclosures in the sales process.
The fact that there was an undetected leak less than a year ago (from the purchase agreement signing) was not disclosed to me at any point prior to closing by either the landlord (seller) or the real estate agent. Do I have legal recourse by Portuguese law?
Your opinions are welcome as this group has enlightened and intelligent participants. Thank you.

1 Like