BY: VLADO HAJTOL
This week’s Reader asks: I am buying a house. The house is about 27 years old. Does the seller have any obligation to disclose any problems with the house?
In general, there are limited obligations for the seller to disclose any problems with the property to interested buyers. Further, the sellers are not required to provide any warranties as to the condition of the property they are selling.
Let the Buyer Beware.
The law in Ontario is pretty clear “let the buyer beware”. Unless there is a fraud, misrepresentation or mistake made by the seller, the buyer takes the existing property as he finds it. The general rule is that there is no obligation to disclose patent or visible defects. Exception to this rule are serious hidden defects or serious concealed defects.
Hidden defects are those that are not discoverable by a reasonable inspection. A proper home inspection is therefore crucial for anyone buying a resale home. Further, such defects have to be serious enough to either affect the integrity of the house, render the house unfit for human habitation or involve deliberate concealment.
Warranties and Representations.
The sellers of residential real estate in Ontario are not obliged to provide any warranties and representations to the buyer. The only warranty included in the standard Agreement of Purchase and Sale is related to the ureaformaldehade insulation. However, the buyer might negotiate for other warranties to be included in the agreement of purchase and sale. For example a warranty that all appliances, heating and cooling systems would be in good working order on the day of closing.
Are you planning on buying or selling your home this spring or summer? We would like to invite you to our real estate seminar for local residents on Saturday, May 2nd, from 10am to 11am, at our offices located at 340 March Road, Kanata. If you are interested please RSVP by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This publication is the 23rd installment of our firm’s Legal Matters series, which answers a reader’s question every week. If you have a general legal question that you would like to have addressed please send it via email to email@example.com.