Published on: January 08, 2019
Article number: 205945

Have your fireplaces, stoves and chimneys inspected!

When selling an immovable, whether you're a seller or buyer, you should not take for granted that the stove, fireplace or chimney of the immovable meets the current standards of both the insurer and the municipality. Hence the importance of an appropriate verification.

Insurer

As policies are usually renewed automatically, owners have every reason to believe in the insurability of their heating systems. However, when there is a change in ownership, the current or any subsequent insurer may refuse to issue a new policy on the grounds that the insurability requirements have been tightened over time. This is the case for many controlled combustion stoves, for example.

Municipalities

When it comes to installing a heating system, regulations may differ from one municipality to another. In general, when manufacturing or installation standards are not met, municipal inspectors may require modifications.

Worse still, where there is a potential fire hazard, the municipal inspector could force the homeowner to have an expert conduct further inspection at his own expense. If this inspection reveals non-compliant components, the homeowner should then modify them at his own expense.

Seller: How to prevent this problem 

Your broker will help you complete the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form (also available for divided co-ownership). This is an essential document to inform the buyer of the history and condition of the property considered.

But the absence of a notice of non-compliance does not prove that your heating system is compliant. That’s why your broker will ask you if you have documents describing the characteristics of the stove and chimney, such as reports of municipal or insurance inspections or even an instruction manual. Some municipalities will tell you the date of the latest inspection. By following the established procedure, homeowners can usually obtain a copy of inspection reports.

Your broker will also point out that a future buyer could make a promise to purchase conditional upon the inspection of the building, especially to uncover all aspects that do not comply with insurance and municipal requirements. A negative inspection report could render a promise to purchase null and void. It’s therefore better to act beforehand!

Buyer: How to prevent this problem 

To prevent the risk of future disputes, your broker will ask the seller’s broker for all the information he has about the heating installations of the building. He will also advise you to enlist the services of a building inspector or a professional who is qualified in this field. 

A qualified inspector should know the municipal and insurance requirements. He should be able to indicate in writing whether or not the stove and chimney comply with the municipal requirements and if the installations are insurable by your insurer. 

Should the inspection reveal a factor that might reduce the value or increase the expenditures of the immovable, you may either exercise your right to render the promise to purchase null and void or proceed with the purchase. It is in your best interest to discuss the best negotiation strategy with your broker.

Finally, when providing your insurer with the characteristics of the stove and chimney of the building, make sure you give him accurate information, as the insurer will issue a policy on the strength of your declarations. Since the insurer usually conducts an inspection after the signing of the deed of sale, you may be required to remedy the situation at your own expense if non-compliance is found.

For more information

For any questions, feel free to contact the information centre Info OACIQ.