In this case, the buyer acquires a house built in 1961, including a low slope cathedral roof. The buyer, with his knowledge of renovation, renounces the pre-purchase inspection, although recommended by his real estate broker, because according to a television program, pre-purchase inspectors are "charlatans" and he has elsewhere already had bad experiences with the inspectors.
Less than a year after the property was purchased, the applicant noticed traces of humidity around the windows. This problem will lead him to carry out further checks and in particular to note that the windows were unsealed and that there are mold and rot problems elsewhere in the house in addition to problems with the sanitary drain, including the absence of a non-return valve and the non-conformity of the installation of the piping for the washer. Following the sending of a formal notice detailing the applicable articles of the Building Code and its implementing regulations, the buyer files an appeal to small claims against his seller by invoking latent defects. However, it will be entirely rejected by the Court on the ground that it has not been a prudent and responsible buyer in acquiring a residence of more than 50 years without at least having a serious prior examination, especially in the presence of certain signs with the The presence of sawdust in the asphalt indicates that excavation work has been undertaken. Failure to investigate further entails, for the Court, the forfeiture of an appeal for hidden defect.
Subsequently in 2012, the buyer discovered new problems of condensation and poor ventilation in the attic, new traces of infiltration and mold. He then sends a new formal notice to his seller, but also to his real estate broker, again invoking hidden defects. The buyer will carry out most of the work, including the drainage system in the basement, refitting the piping, changing the windows, rebuilding the walls in the basement, leveling the concrete slab, etc. . The buyer then undertakes against the seller, an action to reduce the sale price and an action against the listing broker and his broker for failing to communicate to him in due time the seller's statement which indicated the presence of infiltration of water. The total claim is more than $ 172 against the brokers and $ 897 against the seller.
Analyzing the conduct of the parties, the Superior Court dismissed all the plaintiff's claims by invoking his imprudence when he gave up the pre-purchase inspection despite the advice of his real estate broker. For the Court, any prudent and diligent buyer must thoroughly and carefully examine the building while being on the lookout for any indication of a problem. The buyer must also examine, thoroughly, any indication of vice. Even if the Civil Code of Québec does not require the buyer to use the services of a home inspector, he must do so in the presence of a defect index in order to obtain appropriate recommendations on the problem and the measures to take. In this case, the buyer, who has good knowledge of construction, should have been able to identify clues such as saw cuts, poorly installed piping, the absence of a check valve, or he should have used a Pre-purchase inspector considering the advanced age of the house. The complaint is therefore entirely rejected.
Me Sébastien Tisserand
This newsletter does not constitute legal advice and has been written for the convenience of readers only. They should not act or refrain from acting based solely on this chronicle. It is recommended that you consult their legal advisor for this purpose.
Me Sébastien Tisserand specializes in particular in civil litigation, administrative law and labor law.