Homes used to grow cannabis: Permanent stigmas

Sanction

The OACIQ Discipline Committee suspended the licence of two real estate brokers involved in the sale of a property that may have been used to grow cannabis.

Recap of the facts

These two cases concern the sale and purchase of the same property at different times.

In the first case, the Discipline Committee imposed a 60-day suspension and a $2,000 fine on the seller’s broker who failed to declare that the immovable may have been used to grow cannabis. The broker, who is also a co-owner of the immovable, knew this information since it was clearly indicated in the declarations of the previous seller. He therefore deliberately failed to mention it during the sale, claiming that it was just a possibility and nothing confirmed it.

In the second case, the buyer’s broker is reproached for not taking the appropriate steps to verify whether the immovable had indeed been used to grow cannabis. The broker has instead denied the merits of his client's suspicions. Because he claimed that it was just hearsay, the Discipline Committee stated that he had been lax, which constitutes a disciplinary fault.

It is only when she decided to resell her immovable that the client had confirmation that it had already been used to grow cannabis. She therefore had to disclose this information in the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form, resulting in a substantial reduction in the selling price of her home.

The Committee pointed out that this type of offence is of a serious nature and that the real estate broker has an obligation to verify the information provided to him or that is easily accessible. For all these reasons, it has suspended this broker's licence for a 30-day period.

Click here to read the full disciplinary decisions:

Although the Cannabis Act is now in force, note that production or cultivation of cannabis is illegal in Quebec except for authorized medical purposes.

Following the coming into force of this Act, all professionals licensed by the OACIQ must carry out further verifications, ask new questions and disclose the information obtained. They are also responsible for ensuring that any potential buyer can make an informed decision with full knowledge of factors that may adversely affect the transaction. Buyers’ concerns must be heard and the broker must validate the information and disclose it with utmost transparency without interpretation.

Want to learn more about broker duties and obligations? Please read the following articles published by the OACIQ:

Last updated on: April 23, 2019
Article number: 206662