Disclosure Statements are voluntary in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.
A Seller has an obligation to disclose latent defects such as disclosing if the property is dangerous or likely to be dangerous or unfit for habitation (ie: mould issues etc.)
A seller is not liable of a latent defect if they had no knowledge of such defect. A seller must disclose any deficiencies to the purchaser after the Agreement has been signed and prior to the closing date.
STIGMATIZED PROPERTY DISCLOSURE
Is the seller obligated to disclose if there has been a murder, suicide or ghosts in the property?
NO. There is no "law" in Ontario that requires the seller to provide disclosure of a murder, suicide or ghosts in a property.
However, Realtors are governed by RECO and their local real estate boards which have rules and regulations regarding disclosure and require Real Estate Agents to disclose any material facts that affect the market value of the property. Therefore, if a Real Estate Agent has knowledge of an event such as a murder or a marijuana grow operation they are required to disclose such information to the purchaser (in most cases - depending on how long ago the event took place). Real Estate Agents must be careful to avoid misrepresentations, error and concealment of facts.
MARIJUANA GROW OPERATIONS
The Police maintain a list of marijuana grow operations but there is no public database of suicides, murders or other crimes.
A seller must disclose if a grow op when:
- there is an actual material latent defect of which the seller knows or ought to have known;
- the buyer asks a specific question or expresses a specific concern;
- the Agreement of Purchase and Sale contains representations that the property was not used as a grow op or for criminal activity; or
- there is some statutory or regulatory requirement that this disclosure be made.
As a buyer you should ask as many questions as possible and complete due diligence on the property prior to signing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If it is not in writing it does not exist.
Shayle Rothman is an Ontario Real Estate Lawyer at Parnes Rothman Real Estate Lawyers. He can be reached by email at Rothman@RealEstateLawyers.ca, phone 905-477-5151 or fax 905-477-6778. For articles on this and other topics visit www.RealEstateLawyers.ca.