Law

Hidden defects: sometimes unusual situations!


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There are many cases of hidden defects before the courts. If you are looking for a house or a condo to buy, keep an eye out! Indeed, if one spontaneously thinks of checking the roof and the foundations, certain vices can hide in places … very unusual!

What is a hidden defect?

A defect is a major defect that lowers the quality of a building and prevents the owner from using or fully and normally enjoying it.

We speak of vice if the fault is serious to the point that if the buyer had been made aware of the defect, he might not have bought the property or he would have paid a lower price for it.

A vice is “hidden” if it:

  • is not not apparent and that a simple examination does not reveal it
  • East unknown of the buyer and
  • existed at the time of purchase.

The seller is responsible for the hidden defect even if he was unaware of its existence at the time of the sale.

Some cases of unusual hidden defects

Pretty single storey house, ideal for honey lovers…

The summer after buying their new home, buyers discovered a beehive in a wall that could hold up to 25,000 bees! The inspector says he has never seen such a big hive in 18 years of experience.

The judge concluded that it was a hidden defect: the hive necessarily existed at the time of the sale since a hive of this size cannot form in a single summer, but rather 3 to 4 years.

Suburban home for sale, light fixtures and cat litter included!

A few days before signing the deed of sale at the notary, the seller discovered that the crawl space of the house was used as cat litter. Specifically, it was a huge 364 square foot litter that cats had used for several years.

This use of the crawl space is a hidden defect. The use of this part of the house is significantly reduced and significant work is necessary to prevent health problems.

The fact that the seller spoke to buyers about this discovery a few days before the purchase does not change this. The judge concluded that the extent of the situation was unknown to the buyers.

Perfect places for superb suppers at dusk … with bats!

While dining on the patio in the backyard of their new home, buyers discover that several bats are hovering above the patio. Several dozen bats nest in the fireplace in the summer kitchen of the ancestral home they just bought.

Sellers were aware of the presence of these bats, but did not tell buyers about them. They explain that the presence of bats did not bother them. In fact, they even considered their presence to be “interesting”, since the saleswoman was a biologist.

The judge therefore concluded that there was a hidden defect. Since the sellers were aware of the situation, he also ordered them to pay the buyers $ 5,000, in particular because they were unable to take advantage of their patio because of the bats.

House with garbage garden included

Buyers are discovering that the lot of the house they just bought is full of garbage: it has been used as an incineration landfill in the past. Glass, ceramics, porcelain, plastics, brick, wood and medical waste rise to the surface through the effect of freezing and thawing.

The judge concluded that the situation represented a real danger: walking in the yard was in itself a risk of being injured. So it was a case of latent defect. The situation was so critical that the judge ordered the sale to be canceled.

A dream corner by the river…

Buyers were won over by a house for sale near a river. They asked questions related to the proximity of the river. To reassure them, the vendors gave them incomplete information on the frequency of the floods they experienced over time.

Indeed, the sellers did not warn them that the house had suffered frequent floods every year for the past 7 years.

The judge ordered the sale to be canceled since he was convinced that buyers would never have bought the house if they had known that it had been flooded so often.

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