Published on: December 19, 2018
Article number: 205918

Contaminated soil, dry rot, radon, cannabis, etc.: How to protect yourself

Each property has its history and specific features. During a real estate transaction, whether you're a seller or buyer, how can you be sure you are giving or getting a clear picture about the possibility that the property is located on a former landfill site or that it is affected by radon, pyrite, dry rot, etc.?

Here are valuable tips to reduce the risk of legal action and make informed decisions, as well as details on the role and duties of the broker who will assist you throughout your transaction.

An approach for your protection

As you are represented by a real estate broker, your resources to ensure that your transaction is carried out according to proper rules are numerous.

As regulator of real estate and mortgage brokerage activities in Quebec, the OACIQ is mandated by the government to enforce the Real Estate Brokerage Act to ensure your protection. This Act and its regulations impose various duties on your broker, including the duty to verify and disclose any information relevant to the transaction. Also note that agency executive officers are responsible for ensuring that their brokers comply with the Act and the regulations thereunder.

Risks to be assessed

To oversee all the transactions performed by a real estate (or mortgage) broker, the OACIQ has particularly designed about fifty forms, including the one regarding the Declarations by the seller of the immovable (in two versions: for an immovable containing less than five dwellings and for divided co-ownership), which is very useful to properly inform the buyer. The seller’s broker must complete it with his client.

If signs are detected, both the seller’s broker and the buyer’s broker will, for example, recommend having a recognized expert verify the presence of:

Should the risk be confirmed, discuss it with your broker. He will give you good advice to help you make an informed choice among the options available to you.

Transparent seller

As its name suggests, it’s in the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form that the seller must disclose, in good faith and to the best of his knowledge, everything he knows about the condition of the property, its history as well as any improvements or repairs made, and provide evidence to that effect.

The seller’s broker must help the seller complete the form and make the appropriate verifications. He may even in this context suggest a pre-sale inspection to his client.

A well-informed buyer

For his part, after reading the content of the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form with his client, the buyer’s broker will advise him based on the issues disclosed. For example, after recommending a full inspection of the property, as he is required to do so, the broker may:

  • suggest a more in-depth inspection of a component of the property;
  • include a specific condition in the Promise to purchase allowing the examination or verification of documents;
  • advise the client to seek help from an expert when a special situation so requires;
  • check the municipal certificates on the compliance of the septic tank or recommend water quantity or quality tests (in both cases, forms to this effect and certificates will be attached to the Promise to purchase);
  • carry out the appropriate verifications to see if the property considered is located on soil that has already been used as a landfill site.

Questions?

Contact the Info OACIQ agents.  They will assess with you the best course of action to safeguard your interests.


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