When purchasing a property, whether residential or commercial, it is a wise idea to review the information on file with the relevant city/town/municipality/regional district. The buyer should consider whether to include a specific subject for the review of the relevant file in their offer to purchase the property and an express authorization from the seller to do so in case such consent is required by the applicable authority to release the information.
These files can include important information about the property including items such as the following:
- Details on current or proposed levies;
- Outstanding permits;
- Notice of bylaw compliance;
- Provide information on redevelopment opportunities, etc. if of interest to the buyer; and
- Outstanding fines.
Some or all of the above noted information may be disclosed on a property disclosure statement completed by the seller of the property although there are limits on the information that will be contained in that document (i.e. the seller may not be aware of the situation and/or may not recall the matter when completing the disclosure statement). In other cases, the seller may not have completed a property disclosure statement (i.e. we frequently see this with estate sales and/or investment properties that have not been occupied by the seller directly) and it is even more important to ensure this step is taken.
As a result, in all cases, it is recommended that either the buyer or the buyer’s real estate agent reviews the property’s file to ensure the buyer is fully aware of all available information with respect to the property they are purchasing. While the file may not be complete, take the step to review the file will provide an opportunity to ask questions and determine whether there is any information on file that may warrant a further investigation. It is important to ensure this is done prior to condition removal and that appropriate conditions are in place to protect the buyer if information is uncovered which would impact their interest in proceeding with the purchase of the property.
If any questions arise on the file review, answers should be obtained from the appropriate party (government official, lawyer, seller, etc.) in order to clarify any outstanding concerns.
Author: Una Gabie
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law at the following:Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Danielle (Dani) Brito: firstname.lastname@example.org Jane Otterstrom: email@example.com