CBC - Province called on to force home-sellers to disclose property's problems



Province called on to force home-sellers to disclose property’s problems Last Updated Apr 5 2006 09:52 AM CDT
CBC News A Winnipeg woman who was unpleasantly surprised by problems with her recently purchased home says it’s time the provincial government legislated mandatory property-condition reports on houses put up for sale. Brenda Corrigal says property-condition reports, in which sellers have to disclose anything wrong with their homes, would protect homebuyers like her from signing off on a house with serious problems. In February 2005, Corrigal bought a three-bedroom bungalow in the south St. Vital area of Winnipeg for $93,000 – almost $20,000 more than the asking price. Corrigal was in a bidding war over the home with nine other people, and her offer – like many made in Winnipeg these days – had no conditions, such as an inspection or a disclosure document about any problems with the property. Water drips down walls, pools in basement On the day after she and her two young daughters moved into their new home, Corrigal says the insurance company called, saying it couldn’t provide collapsed-building insurance due to concerns about the roof. “That same day there was a quote in my mailbox from a roofing company that the previous owners had asked for an estimate on the roof,” she said. “So they obviously knew that work needed to be done on the roof.”


Mould grows behind a damp wall in Corrigal’s home. (Photo courtesy Brenda Corrigal)
Corrigal hadn’t seen the roof at the time of the home’s purchase because it was covered with snow, although she says the realtor told her the shingles on the home’s roof were about 10 years old. In the year since she moved in, Corrigal says water started dripping down walls in her hallway and her daughter’s bedroom. In the kitchen, water started dripping from the kitchen ceiling and pooling in the light fixture above the dining room table. In the basement, Corrigal says water seeped through three walls until it was ankle-deep. Corrigal says the previous owners told her, after the sale, to expect some water in one corner of the basement – but gave her no other warnings. The home’s former owners maintain that they told Corrigal all she needed to know, and say it was up to her to have the home inspected before buying it. Market too hot for home inspections: lawyer Local real estate lawyer Jeremy Feuer knows all too well that few homebuyers insist on inspections in today’s hot real estate market. If they do, he says, they often lose the bidding war. “If you have a family and you need to find a home, it may be the case that you need to waive any requests for a home inspection if you need to find a place to live,” he said. “In this competitive market, more often than not, purchasers are all but forced to waive any kind of inspection.” Feuer has joined a growing number of realtors and real estate lawyers who say the province should give serious thought to legislating mandatory property-condition reports to protect homebuyers. “It would give a purchaser full disclosure or … a lot more disclosure than they’re getting right now and make the entire process transparent, as opposed to flying blind, which a lot of people are,” Feuer said. “Has there been any kinds of problems associated with water leakage of any kind, either from the property onto an adjoining property, or vice-versa? It requires the vendor to answer yes or no, and if yes, to offer an explanation and actually explain what those problems were.” Repair bill to cost thousands A few real estate boards in Ontario require mandatory property condition reports, and in other places, such as Nova Scotia, realtors are required to encourage clients to use these forms, although ultimately it’s up to the vendor. As for Corrigal, she’s unsure what to do next, as her lawyer has advised her that a lawsuit would be expensive to pursue and difficult to win. She’s faced with thousands of dollars in repairs to her home. “I have a lot of good family and friends that have kept me strong, but it’s been very hard, and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said. “Even if, by law, I could sell [the house] the way it is now, in my heart I know I couldn’t do this to somebody.”

Thanks Ray and Roy

Buyer beware.
Until the government changes the law to have presale inspections and reports it is Buyer beware.
Until the government changes the law to to set standards for inspectors it’s Buyer beware.
Given the present Conservative governments in Ottawa and here in Alberta Changing the law to protect the buyer is a long way off.
Buyer beware.
The next house I buy will be inspected by another inspector.
My emotions clouded my judgment when I bought this house.
Old proverb " A lawyer who acts on his own behalf has a fool for a client."

If the seller insists on no inspection then that is a great big warning that something is wrong. Run don’t walk to the nearest exit.

Hey Robert,

Why do you have the NACHI banner for the state of Idaho on your web site? Just how big of an area do you cover?:smiley: