Buyers of real estate in Alberta must be aware of undisclosed issues with the property they want to purchase. Although the law requires sellers to disclose material latent defects, many cases exist in which buyers do not honestly answer the questions of potential purchasers. Therefore, purchasers are advised to do some research to uncover potential problems.
Examples of nondisclosure include a property in another province where the responses of the agent and the seller about the reason for selling were misleading. They falsely represented that the property is for sale because the seller’s child had to go to a different school. Upon checking into the matter, the purchaser learned that the seller’s husband, who allegedly was a notorious gang leader, was murdered on the property.
Another potential buyer researched a reasonably priced residential property on Google and learned that the Humane Society seized over 1,000 rabbits that were housed in the home. Sellers must also disclose issues such as electrical, roof-related problems, basement leaks and more. Importantly, disclosure is required even if defects have been remedied. It could be a filled-in cracks in the basement, repaired sewer pipes and other damage, often caused by tree roots.
Purchasers of real estate in Alberta are entitled to ask appropriate questions, and sellers must provide answers on which the potential buyers can rely. Those who have problems with properties bought without full disclosure of problematic issues may have recourse via the province’s legal system. However, the process can be time-consuming and expensive. In the cited example of the gang leader’s murder, the purchasers only recovered their $300,000 deposit nine years after discovering the truth.