Buying a house should be an exciting, life-fulfilling experience. If you buy a house, then discover there are serious problems, the excitement won’t last long. What can you do in such a situation? Who should take responsibility?
If a serious problem arises after you buy the house, you may be able to file a lawsuit. As a home buyer, you have the right to sue the seller if sold a house with issues. There are laws that require the seller of the home to disclose any defect in the house they are aware of. There is a time limit to start the process in Ontario, and if you have the issue settled in your favour, you will be paid for damages.
If You Bought a House and Problems were not Disclosed
When you buy a house, it is your responsibility to fully investigate the property. The principle of caveat emptor applies to the purchase of a house. As a buyer, you must satisfy yourself with the condition of the house before the sale closes. A problem you discover after closing is your problem. There are exceptions to this principle, however. One exception is where there is a known material defect. This the vendor may have to disclose. The vendor may not conceal a material defect and hope that it remains undiscovered until after the sale closes. During the time of buying and selling the house, though, the seller must answer several questions about the state of the property. The seller can be sued under the Misrepresentations Act if the questions are not answered honestly.
Whether the seller thought they were telling the truth, or lied, or didn’t take the time to find out, you can take action.
You, as a buyer, will need to show the issue is a fact, not an opinion. You will also have to prove when you signed the contract, the information provided was false and influenced your choice to buy the house. The last thing you will need to prove is how you have suffered a loss because of the withheld information.
Some issues that impact the value of a house are as follows:
• Rot, damp or dry
• Structural issues
• neighbour issues
• damaging plants such as Japanese Knotweed
• Planned development near home
As we mentioned above that there is a time limit to bring an action against the seller after the closing, but if you notice these issues before you buy the house, you can either:
• refuse to buy
• ask for a price reduction
• ask for damages to be paid
• In some cases, the contract can be rescinded. The seller would have to buy back their home for the amount it sold for.
How to Protect Yourself
A few things that will help you protect yourself from unpleasant surprises after buying a house would be to get a home inspection, a property survey, a title report, and a seller’s disclosure form. If there are any issues after the process closes, those documents will help with the claim against the seller.
As you can see, prevention can be better than dealing with the issue after the fact. If you do find yourself in the situation of buying a house and discovering defects, call Minhas Lawyers today. Our highly skilled lawyers can take your individual situation and guide you to a comfortable solution.
Minhas Lawyers LLP is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.
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