The price of residential real estate in the City of Vancouver and surrounding communities continues to increase at a staggering rate. This is especially true for single-family homes where figures released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver for February 2016 show a 27% year-over-year increase for single-detached home prices in Metro Vancouver.
Property Condition Disclosure Statement in Vancouver
With record-high prices, a new homeowner may expect that their single-family residence is free of defects. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and some surprising homebuyers discover after closing that their new house contains previously undisclosed defects such as :
- Foundation cracks/soil subsidence
- Basement flooding
- Mold behind the walls
- Asbestos in the dry wall or cladding
There are currently two methods available to Vancouver buyers to check for hidden defects prior to completing their home purchase.
- Conditional Sale: One option is to make the transaction conditional on or ‘subject to’ the buyer being satisfied with the results of a thorough home inspection by a reputable home inspector.
- Disclosure Statement: The second option is to obtain a Property Condition Disclosure Statement from the seller, whereby the seller provides information as to the physical condition of the property.
What is a Vancouver Property Disclosure Statement?
A Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS) is a disclosure of what a seller knows about their property. The PCDS was brought into use in British Columbia to allow sellers to disclose defects they may be aware of with their properties. Buyers need as much information as possible about a property they are buying so that they can make an informed decision although a seller is not required to provide a PCDS in British Columbia.
A buyer’s right to claim compensation against a seller for a defect typically depends on determining a) whether the defect is “patent” or “latent” and b) whether the seller knew about the defect:
Patent Defects: A defect is “patent” if it is easily seen or discovered upon a reasonable inspection of the house and property. In most instances, the principle of caveat emptor applies and the buyer cannot complain about this type of defect.
Latent Defects: A “latent defect” is hidden and cannot be observed on a normal inspection. If the seller knows about a latent defect he has a duty to disclose this defect to the buyer.
Contact a Vancouver Land Ownership Lawyer
When a buyer of a house discovers a previously undisclosed problem such as a cracked or leaking foundation or mould, litigation can arise after the sale is complete. If you purchased a home and later discovered a latent defect it is important to speak to an experienced Vancouver land ownership lawyer as soon as possible. Contact either Ross McLarty or Murray Wolf for a no-obligation 30-minute free consultation. Call the law offices of McLarty Wolf at (604) 688-9542 today or contact us via our online form here.