Carpenter ants and hidden vice

Carpenter ants

It is very difficult for ordinary mortals to differentiate the harmless black ant from the carpenter ant. The distinction is paramount in the case of a prosecution for hidden vice. Indeed, only the presence of carpenter ants, among all insects, gives the right to a recourse in hidden vice against the former owner. However, case law has established that the mere presence of carpenter ants is not necessarily a hidden defect (Li c Boutilier, Court of Quebec, 2006). As Mario Naccarato emphasizes, "despite the hidden nature of the presence of carpenter ants (...) the only hidden character affecting a vice is not enough to engage the responsibility of the seller".

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Hidden vice "Two precautions are better than one"

Hidden defects

In this second bulletin, Me Sébastien Tisserand, of the law firm Mercier Leduc, analyzes Patenaude v. Canada. Trépanier. In this case, a buyer purchased a house in the 60 years, but refused to have a pre-purchase inspection done with an inspector, as he believed he had the necessary knowledge to inspect himself.
This decision has brought him many inconveniences and considerable monetary losses. The Court considered that he had not acted as a prudent and diligent buyer and rejected all his claims.

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When a construction flaw resurfaces 20 years later ...

construction defect

Me Sébastien Tisserand, of the law firm Mercier Leduc, summarizes the Boudreault v. Boily case, in which a seller sued for a hidden defect calls his own seller as collateral when the transaction was more than 20 years old.
The buyer's expert concluded that the building was affected by a problem of differential settlement of the ground, under the foundations, which he described as a serious construction defect.

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Hidden vice: between myths and realities

Expertise in hidden vice

In recent years, there has been an explosion of lawsuits in hidden vice. In this type of expertise, the role of the civil engineer is not a substitute for judges, but it must still analyze whether or not it is a case of hidden vice. To do this, it collects clues and performs the appropriate tests in order to discover if the defect was apparent or hidden during the real estate transaction.

In the case where buyers have consulted a pre-purchase inspector, it sometimes happens that the latter does not take into account the symptoms that may indicate an apparent defect. Despite obvious symptoms, the inspector may not make any recommendation in his report for expert in-depth expertise.

As part of a technical-legal expertise, the engineer must make the distinction between a hidden defect and the normal wear and tear of the components.

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