How Declaring Everything You Know About Your Property Protects You

Let’s talk about the ‘Declarations of the Seller of the Immovable’. This is a mandatory form that a Seller must fill out along with a brokerage contract in order to have their house listed on Centris.ca. This contract is seven pages long, full of questions about the Seller’s knowledge, answering the best of their ability, on the stat of their house and property. When a Seller receives a promise to purchase, the declaration must be acknowledged by signature by the Buyer(s).

A lot of people think that this is a waste of time and it almost feels like they are shooting themselves in the foot by declaring everything they know that is wrong about their property. There is nothing further than the truth. A Buyer who gives you a promise to purchase will be acknowledging the declaration in writing. They are stating that they understand all that is declared. Their price will reflect that. Which means that after the building inspection, they would have no reason to “renegotiate” on something you’ve already declared. As well, very importantly, after they buy and move in and then decide to come back at you for something, and it was stated in the declaration, you would be protected because they acknowledged knowing. A declaration protects both parties.

Adding everything you know

Last week I listed a house and the Seller completed filling out the declaration to the best of their knowledge. Later in the week, after we accepted a promise to purchase, the Seller remembered that after she moved in, she had to renovate the bathroom earlier then planned because she found old water damage around the shower. It was a hidden defect and she successfully had the previous owners share the expense of repairing the damage. When the Seller brought it to my attention after she had remembered, she was wondering if this was important to disclose because the issue was resolved. Yes, it’s very important.

Other questions, like ‘what if I have bad neighbours and I’m in court with them’ or ‘you hear that the city might be closing off one of the accesses to your street’. Should these be mentioned? The answer is yes. If this is information that might or will impact them in the future, you must mention it. To keep it to yourself could be considered a hidden defect. Imagine if they bought the house just because of that route and when it closes, they find out you knew about it and didn’t tell them.

Regardless of how small or insignificant you feel the issue or problem might have been, the Seller’s job is to disclose all that they know about the house, whether the problem or issue was fixed or not.