On California C.A.R. TDS forms sellers have to disclose any unpermitted work properly so that buyers would not later sue seller for misrepresenting property.

On disclosures I have seen words "[re]built", "remodeled", "converted" being used to disclose unpermitted work. What are main differences between these words in common law?

Can seller state "bedroom was remodeled without permits" to imply that what is actually garage on building blueprints is now being called bedroom? Or would seller have to use verb "rebuilt without permits" or "converted without permits" in a such disclosure to imply that non-living space is being used as living space?

1 Answer 1


The words words "[re]built", "remodeled", and "converted" are not terms of art at common law. They would be interpreted on a case by case basis under the circumstances, typically in a lawsuit for a fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, or breach of a contractual covenant, with an eye towards where the use of a particular word in a particular context was, or was not, misleading.

Also "converted" is a term with a technical legal meaning but not in the sense that you are using the word (the technical term of art legal meaning is to take or obtain property of another in a tortious, i.e. wrongful, manner for which there is a civil damages remedy).

Often a court would refer to an ordinary, non-legal, dictionary to aid it in evaluating the meaning of these terms.

  • Is there a legal dictionary so that in future I can look up this myself? Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 21:24
  • 1
    Black's Law Dictionary is the leading, but not only, legal dictionary. It has a free online version although I've never used it and can't vouch that it is up to the standard of the paper version. thelawdictionary.org It appears to contain lots of advertising and additional non-dictionary content that is not as authoritative.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 21:26

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