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Hidden Defects Academy

What Is A Hidden Defect?

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Examples of Hidden Defect?

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Parties to the real estate transaction

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What Is A Hidden Defect?

Any flaw or defect in an immovable property resulting from inferior design, deterioration, or a construction mistake made prior to sale, whether intentional or not.

Existed at the time of the transaction
Is not apparent in plain site and often cannot be noticed by a simple inspection
Affects the quality and value of a property
Prevents the occupant from normal use (or enjoyment) of the property
The buyer does not know about it and could not have reasonably suspected it prior to the transaction

Had the buyer known of the defect, he or she would not have bought the affected property or, if he had, would have paid significantly less.

Examples of Hidden Defect?

Cracks in the foundation
Plumbing or drainage problems
Inadequate wiring, plumbing, heating or cooling
Mould in the walls or ceilings (or anywhere for that matter)
Infestation (vermin, pests, etc.)
Suicide or violent death

Parties to the real estate transaction

Obligations of The Seller

The law binds the seller of a property to:

Complete the mandatory form entitled
Declarations by the Seller of the immovable

Inform buyers about any defects they are aware of to allow buyers to determine:

The actual value of a home

The defects that may reduce its value, allowing them ask for a reduced price

The cost of any necessary repairs or renovations

By law, the seller cannot:

Fail to disclose to the buyer anything that may affect the value of the property

Exaggerate to encourage the buyer to buy on better terms, such as for a higher price

Obligations of the Inspector

Review the seller declaration

Careful visual examination of:

All systems

Visible and accessible components

Elements to inspect:

Provides a detailed written report of findings:


Indications of any defects observed, especially those that require:

Urgent or major repair work

More in-depth expert opinion

Structure of the property



Doors and windows






Air conditioning

Obligations of the broker:

Recommend to the buyer that he or she have a home inspection done

Identify the client

Identify any other party not represented by a real estate broker

Verify all documents related to the property (Act of Sale, Hypothec (a.k.a. Mortgage), Property Taxes, etc.)

Verify the Certificate of Location

In the event you are purchasing a condominium, obtain and verify the Declaration of Co-Ownership, minutes of condo meetings and any other information related to the financial affairs since at least the past  year.

Verify that the Seller’s Declaration has been properly filled out.

Maintain the file for at least 5 years.

Obligations of the Inspector

Inspector is responsible for:

apparent defects…

not hidden defects

The Warranty of Quality

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You found a Hidden Defect: What to Do!

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The Warranty of Quality

Buyers in Quebec are protected by the “warranty of quality”, which applies to the property and everything attached to it, such as:

A pool, chimney, deck,  garage, storage shed.

There are exceptions to the Warranty:

Buying Under Judicial Authority (i.e. bank, municipal authority, or any other such entity that never had possession of property)
Buying at Your Own Risk (a.k.a “As Is”)
Buying from an Estate

Buyer’s Rights

The warranty against hidden defects may grant buyers one or more of the following rights:

Reduction in the price paid for the purchase of the property

Reimbursement of the cost of repairs done or that must be done to repair the defect

Compensation for harm suffered, and exceptionally

Cancellation of the purchase, reimbursement of the purchase price and damages

You found a Hidden Defect: What to Do!

Stop renovation work
Document the defect
Notify seller
Give seller opportunity to see/inspect alleged defect
Wait reasonable delay for seller response/position
Get quotes/inspection report to qualify defect
Attempt to reach agreement with seller and put in writing
Act on quote
Take legal action against seller for cost of repairs