Imagine that you have found the perfect house at an awesome price; however, it is rumoured to be haunted. What do you do?
Buy it and set an extra plate at dinner? Or do you walk away from the offer?
What happens if you find out about the purported ghost only after the deal closes? Then what?
Generally, when it comes to house defects, how much a seller is obligated to disclose to you is largely dependent on the scope and nature of the defect. There are two categories of defects. Patent and latent.
Patent defects are the types that are reasonably easy to discover while inspecting a property (a crack in a wall, water staining etc.). Typically these fall under buyer beware, you bought the house knowing about these issues so you probably don’t have much recourse against the vendor.
Latent defects are a little trickier. Those are the kind of defects that are not obvious during a general inspection. It comes down to did the vendor know about the defect and choose not to disclose it? Was it deliberate misrepresentation? Can you prove that? Depending on the nature of the defects a buyer may, under certain circumstances, have recourse against the vendor. (This is where your friendly lawyer comes in)
Hauntings fall under a less common type of misrepresentation. This involves the psychological stigmatization of a property, which occurs when a property that has had an event prior to being sold, such as death, suicide, or haunting. A stigma is a non-physical, intangible attribute of a property that may elicit a negative psychological or emotional response on the part of a potential buyer.
In the case of hauntings in may be difficult to prove. The burden is on the purchaser to bring clear and convincing evidence proving that there is a ghost. Good Luck! The purchaser would also have to bring evidence that the property cannot be used or is less valuable before they can succeed in a claim against the vendor.
It might be easier to set an extra plate at the dinner table or call Ghostbusters.
*This article Is Bill Johnston approved. Bill is Bosley’s esteemed in house lawyer and manager at the 276 Merton branch. With over 30 years of real estate experience in both sales and management and degrees in Psychology and Law, Bill provides legal counsel and real estate advice to all of Bosley’s sales representatives.
I.E. Bill keeps us informed and out of trouble.
Happy New Year
I am a self confessed logophile. I love words and their meanings. At the end of each year I can’t wait to see what the various publications post as the word of the year. 2016 does not disappoint. Two words in particular jump out...
According to Dictionary.com, the most looked up word in 2016 is Xenophobia. This is not too surprising. Consider what we saw in 2016: Brexit, Syria’s refugee crisis, police violence, debates over transsexual rights, horrific mass shootings and the Trump triumph.
Surreal, the second word that strikes me as a good descriptor for 2016 is the Merriam Webster word choice of the year. What better word to describe the Toronto Real Estate market? Check out the stats below.
If I had a crystal ball I would tell you exactly what would happen in 2017. Unfortunately, it is out being serviced. However, I do believe the market will remain strong. I don’t see the current percentagegrowth as being sustainable, however; barring any grand governmental change, economic downfall or catastrophic event, the market will continue to grow. Many homeowners will continue to choose renovation over selling as the more affordable option. The resulting shortage of inventory will continue to frustrate the first time buyers and, the 905, the condo and rental markets will see substantial growth.
The question I was most asked in 2016? Do I sell now or wait? My answer remains the same. Sell only when you are ready to sell. Do not wait on the market or for perfect conditions.
Happy New Year, I wish you health and happiness in 2017 and beyond!
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