Grow Ops … and The Usage of “To the Best of My Knowledge and Belief”

indoor-grow

The above term is often used in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale; but what is the effect of it on representations and warranties?

In the Court of Appeal case of “Beatty v. Wei” found that despite a Seller’s representation during the time they had owned a property, that the property had not been used as a grow op, the effective date of the truth of the representation made to “the best of the Seller’s knowledge and belief” was at the time that the representation was made. Without the language in the clause that the representation continued until closing, the representation did not continue, and, in this case, it was discovered that the property had in fact been used as a grow op at some time prior, but that fact was unknown by the Seller and the Seller was not liable.  The emphasis to be placed on representation is the knowledge of the Seller when the representation was given and not on whether the property had been used as a grow op.

The representation given was limited to the Seller’s knowledge at the time given and was not absolute.

If the Buyer wants the representation to apply up to the date of closing, the Agreement of Purchase and Sale should be written to include this timeframe. Since the clause did not reflect “up to the date of closing”, the representation only applied to the date of execution of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.

We all rely on “to the best of my knowledge and belief” in our agreements, so it is important to realize that without language that makes the knowledge apply to the date of closing, the effectiveness of the representation is limited to the date it is given.  Even if the Buyer finds out prior to closing that there was a grow op, the Buyer does not have the right to terminate the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.

Knowledge is Power, which results in more business!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.  If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281     Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Watch for more Travers Tidbits to follow each month!

The Obligation of Disclosure in Agreements of Purchase and Sale (APS) …and The Case Of Marijuana!

Why-Everybody-Should-Be-Allowed-To-Grow-Marijuana-At-Home

Beatty et al. v. Wei et al. is a Superior Court of Justice decision dated June 5, 2017. This case is significant because it speaks to representations and warranties made by a Seller in an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, specifically with respect to the relationship between representations and warranties made to the best of the Seller’s knowledge and belief and the ability to rescind an otherwise valid APS. The basic facts of this case are as follows: An APS was entered into between Buyer and Seller. In the Agreement, the Seller represented and warranted that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the property had not been used for the growth or manufacture of illegal substances. At the time this representation and warranty was provided, this was in fact true. Before closing, the Buyers discovered through their own investigation that the property had in fact been used to produce marijuana in 2004. This was confirmed by a letter by Toronto Police. The Buyers refused to close the transaction and demanded the return of their deposit. The Sellers refused to agree to the termination of the APS and brought an application for declarations that the APS was a firm and binding contract, the Buyer had breached the APS and that the deposit had been forfeited. The Buyer applied for declarations that they were not required to complete the transaction and for the return of their deposit.

The Court ultimately found in favor of the Buyer. The Buyer was able to rescind the APS and the deposit was returned. Why? The Judge reasoned that this representation and warranty given by the Sellers was relied upon by the Buyers and induced them to enter into the APS. If it were the case that the Sellers had discovered there once was production of marijuana at the property, the Seller would be obligated to notify the Buyer before closing because they would no longer be able to make that representation and warranty. This would be a material change to the contract and would be grounds for rescission. The Judge reasons that the Buyer’s rights are not affected merely because they were the ones who made the discovery, and thus the same principle must apply. This was a material change to the terms of the APS and the Seller could no longer sell the property on the same material terms and conditions agreed upon in the APS.

Real Estate Agents should be mindful of this decision because of the potential implications it could have when this representation and warranty is made in an APS. If your Seller represents and warrants that to the best of their knowledge and belief a particular circumstance about a property is either true or untrue, a Buyer may have a valid claim for termination of the APS if in reality the state of the property conflicts with what your Seller has represented and warranted. If acting for a Seller, be aware of the potential risks to the APS if a representation and warranty is made that is discovered to be a mistaken belief in reality. If acting for a Buyer, if your Client has been induced to enter into an APS based on a mistaken belief that is represented and warranted by a Seller, your Buyer may have a right to terminate the APS and to have the deposit returned.

Knowledge is Power, which results in more business!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.  If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

 

Prepared by Bryan Mayes, Solicitor with Paquette Travers

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281                                                          Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Watch for more Travers Tidbits to follow each month!

What Is a Zombie Deed / Transfer?

houseforsale

It has nothing to do with Halloween!  A Zombie deed is a transfer which is registered after the death of the owner of the property. In the past if an owner was dying, lawyers would get the deed signed before the closing date of a sale, and hold it until the closing day and register it then. If the owner passed away before closing, the transaction could still close on time without the need for Probate. These deeds were held to be valid in the case of Winarksi v. Sproul The Winarski case lead to the practitioners seeing the Zombie deed as a way of avoiding the provincial taxation or the value of the property. There were certain requirements for the deed to be valid , including that it would be binding after death and it was delivered to an Ontario Lawyer unconditionally and irrevocable. The registry office will now no longer permit the registration of Zombie Deeds, if discovered.

Knowledge is Power, which results in more business!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Prepared by Don Travers, Solicitor with Paquette & Travers . Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281 Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Watch for more Travers Tidbits to follow each month!

What is “First Dealings for Estate Sales”?

Dream house.

Recently I have had several agents raise questions on a clause in an Estate sale which referred to first dealings and the fact that probate might not be needed. So what is a “First Dealings for Estate Purposes.”

The requirement in Land Titles is that upon the death of an owner, the estate trustee must obtain probate. The conversion of properties from the old registry system to Land Title has lead to an exemption from the requirement for Probate for these converted properties to Land Title Qualified.

The First Dealings Exemption is applicable if the deceased acquired the property while it was registered under the registry system and was subsequently converted to Land Title Qualified and the deceased still owned the property, then the owner will be exempt from the requirement for probate. This First Dealings Exemption will still apply as long as the dealings do not transfer title, such as mortgages and discharges.

The exemption will still apply if a joint tenant has died on the registration of a survivorship application will not vitiate the first dealings exemption for the survivor. Inter-spousal conveyances due to the dissolution of a marriage will not disqualify the owner from the First Dealings Exemption. This exemption is only available where there is a Will and where the property is in the Land Title Qualified.

Knowledge is Power, which results in more business!  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Prepared by Don Travers, Solicitor with Paquette & Travers

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281 Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Watch for more Travers Tidbits to follow each month

Oh Canada! What You Need to Know About Residency Status in Closing the Deal

canada-immigration-flag-and-passport

The introduction of the Non-Resident Speculation Tax in April of this year has made it imperative that Real Estate Agents confirm the residency status/citizenship of their Buyers well in advance of the closing date. We have encountered issues days before closing wherein the Client, as it turns out, has not actually been granted Permanent Residency Status/Canadian Citizenship by the Government of Canada. If the closing date arrives and the Buyer is unable to provide our office with proof of either Permanent Residency or Canadian Citizenship (birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card, etc.) then two options become possible:

  1.  The Buyer pays the NRST which equals 15% of the purchase price and may be eligible for a rebate after closing;
  2.  Extend the closing date of the transaction until the Buyer can provide our office with proof of Permanent   Residency/Citizenship.

Neither of these options will result in a happy Buyer. To avoid this potentially disastrous circumstance from arising, we recommend that all Real Estate Agents confirm the residency status/citizenship of their Buyers (with proof!) well in advance of the closing date. We have found that sometimes clients think that they are Permanent Residents/Canadian Citizens but have never actually been legally granted this status by the Government of Canada. Determining if this will be a problem in advance of the closing date will give the Buyer time to apply to the Government to receive the appropriate documentation before the closing date.

Addressing this potential problem immediately is crucial to avoiding potential issues on closing and, ultimately to cause your Buyer to close their transaction happily and hassle free.

Author: Bryan M. Mayes, Lawyer

Paquette & Travers Professional Corporation

519-744-2281 x 302

 bmayes@ptlaw.ca

 www.paquettetravers.com

Closing the Deal for Common Element Condominiums (POTL’s)

condo

We have experienced problems recently with agents not using the proper form for the condominium POTL sales and purchasing nor using the proper terms. The Agreement does not mention the condominium corporation at all.  Some Agreements refer to monthly fees without stating what they are for, while some agents do not think that they need to refer to the review of the Status Certificate and make the transaction conditional on lawyer review.  All of the above can prove fatal to the transactions and to the agent.

Purchasers have refused to close transactions because it was not disclosed that they were buying into a condominium corporation. The monthly fee can be very small, as little as $15.00 a month, but if not disclosed as a condominium, the purchaser can walk because even though the fee is small, there is always the potential liability of the condominium corporation which is unknown.

A few closings were delayed because the purchaser refused to close unless the seller paid the condominium fees for 5 years due to the failure to disclose there was a condominium corporation fee. Therefore, it is imperative that there be full disclosure of the status of the property and any condo fees, to ensure that agents are not having to reach into their own pockets.  The deal only closed when the agents agreed to pay the condominium fees for the next 5 years.

Purchaser’s agents must provide for the review of the status certificate on these condos as well.  Failure to do so could result in the purchaser being saddled with unpaid condominium fees, pending special assessments, or possible lawsuit costs pending against the corporation.  The agent would be negligent for not making the offer conditional on review by the Purchaser’s lawyer – obviously a lawyer not obtaining the Status Certificate would also be negligent.

So be sure you get all the facts on the property you are selling and buying, because many properties are now being developed as Common Element Condominiums (POTL) and sellers do not always appreciate what they are selling. The sellers naturally blame their agents when these problems arise.

Knowledge is Power, which results in more business!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.  If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Prepared by Don Travers, Solicitor with Paquette & Travers.

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281                                                      Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Watch for more Travers Tidbits to follow each month!

Family Law Issues in Real Estate: Part 3 of 3

house-in-hands

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?!  What happens when a common law relationship breaks down and one party wants to sell the home and the other party is happy living in the house and often is not making much of a contribution to the upkeep?

 The party that wants to sell can sever a joint tenancy by registering a transfer to themselves.  Thus converting the property to tenants in common.  He or she can also force the sale of the property by commencing an “ Action for Partition”.  Parties are not locked into their properties.  The agent can advise the party to seek legal advice on a partition action.  Usually, a letter from the selling party’s lawyer will get the desired results of getting the property listed.  However, if an action is required agents must allow sufficient time to have the action heard.  Talk to the selling party’s lawyer, months are quite often required, but the courts will order the sale and even dispense with the signature of the non co-operating party if necessary.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Prepared by Don Travers, Solicitor with Paquette & Travers

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281

Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Family Law Issues in Real Estate: Part 2 of 3

homesplitting

A common problem in Family Law Situations is when the client sells a matrimonial home and plans to use their share of the proceeds to buy another home.  This “Dream Client” can become a nightmare if the agent is not careful.  It is not uncommon for spouses to assume they will receive half (1/2) the equity of the house upon the sale.  It is important for agents to ensure their client has a separation agreement in place, dealing with the proceeds of the sale of the house or at least an irrevocable direction to the lawyer acting on the sale for what is required to complete the new purchase, before the spouse commits to a firm agreement of purchase and sale on a new house.

Spouses can get very vindictive, and on a sale, will often insist the proceeds of the sale be held in trust by their real estate lawyer until all Family Law issues are resolved.  If the proper caution is not taken as mentioned above, the spouse’s purchase can be thwarted and the purchasing spouse be exposed to damages for failure to close.

Always make your client aware of this, and do not let them firm up without clarification of who gets what of the sale proceeds.  Spouses can never count on their spouse continuing goodwill.  Be prepared and ready to advise!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Prepared by Don Travers, Solicitor with Paquette & Travers

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281

Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Family Law Issues in Real Estate:Part 1 of 3

commonlawpicture

One of the most misunderstood aspects of family law issues in real estate is “What is a Common Law relationship.” A Common Law Relationship is legally defined as two people living together for three years, or a relationship which has a child from it. Many people will refer to themselves as common law without meeting these criteria.

It is important to note that even if the parties meet the legal definition of common law, this does not mean that they have any interest in the other persons property. A legal common law relationship can impose support obligations on each other. However, parties must legally be married, before any party acquires any interest in real property. Thus from an agent’s point of view in common law circumstances, the consent of the common law is never required to list or sell the property. This applies even in the case of the matrimonial. Only if both parties are on title-would both have to sign, which would be obvious in any circumstance.

Knowledge is Power, which results in more business!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Prepared by Don Travers, Solicitor with Paquette & Travers

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281

Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow – The Risk of No Conditions!

Sold

In this very hot market, we are seeing most deals without any conditions, and in particular, no financing condition.  However, this is not necessarily a blessing for the Seller. Sales not being completed because of the Buyer cannot get financing.  The Seller believes they have a firm Agreement of Purchase and Sale act upon that information to buy a new home. Unfortunately, the Seller finds out when they get close to the closing, that the Buyer cannot close because the price paid for the house is not justified by the bank’s appraisal.  The Seller is left in the inevitable position of not being able to complete their purchase.

To make matters worse, there was a multiple offer, and unfortunately the seller selected the perceived best offer, which turned out to be the wrong offer.  The offer had only the minimal deposit, so the seller does not have much to fall back on for their damages.

In order for Agents acting for the sellers to protect their clients, the Agents should be making sure that the accepted Agreement of Purchase and Sale have larger deposits.  If buyers can not come up with a larger deposit, they probably cannot make up any shortfall in the bank financing either.

If you sold your home in 2016, you will have to report it to the Canadian Revenue Agency in your tax form that deals with Capital Gains, even though any gains remain tax free if you have lived in the house as long as you owned it. The basic information related to the transaction must be filled out on the income tax form including the year of purchase, the proceeds of the sale, and the description of the property.  The penalty for not reporting the sale of a home and not having your tax return amended if necessary is up to $8000. This change in reporting will make it easier for the CRA to catch taxpayers who try to claim the principle residence exemption on more than one property for the same period.

Knowledge is Power, which results in more business!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.  If you have any suggestions for future topics please let us know.

Prepared by Don Travers, Solicitor with Paquette & Travers

Contact toll free: 1-877-744-2281    Online: www.paquettetravers.com

Watch for more Travers Tidbits to follow each month!