Hidden Defects

Have you uncovered hidden defects in a property not disclosed by the seller?

What do you do when the home you bought has a hidden defect – or defects – the seller never disclosed before before the sale?

The purchase of a home may be one of the most important investments you make. So what do you do when the home you bought has a hidden defect – or defects – the seller never disclosed to you prior to the sale? Fortunately, the laws in Quebec protect the rights of homebuyers. If you’ve discovered a hidden defect, you may be entitled by law to compensation for repairs, renovations and even damages.

A hidden defect is any flaw or defect resulting from inferior design, deterioration, or an unseen construction mistake made prior to sale. In Quebec, the seller of a property is bound by law to inform the buyer of a property of any hidden defects that may negatively affect the quality or use of the property and any extension of it, including a pool, chimney, deck, shed, or garage.

  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Mould in the walls or ceiling (or anywhere that might not have been visible to the inspector)
  • A clogged drainage system
  • An infestation
  • Inadequate wiring, plumbing, heating or cooling
  • Leaks or drainage problems with the plumbing

While the seller of a property is bound by Quebec law to inform the buyer of any hidden defects that may negatively affect the quality or use of the property or any extension of it, buyers in Quebec are also protected by what is called the Warranty of Quality. The Warranty of Quality applies to the property purchased and any extension of it, including a pool, chimney, deck, shed, or garage, and is like a legalpromise from the buyer that the property is free of any undisclosed defects.

If you’ve discovered a hidden defect – or defects – that you were not made aware of  prior to the purchase of a property, the Warranty of Quality obliges the seller to to make necessary repairs or renovations. If the seller fails to take the necessary action, you may be entitled to proportional compensation.

SHOULD YOU CONTACT A REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY?

Quebec law outlines the criteria a defect must meet for the Warranty of Quality to apply. If the following statements are true about your defect, you may have legal recourse:

  1. The defect existed at the time of the transaction

  2. The defect is not apparent or obvious and often cannot be noticed by a simple inspection

  3. The defect affects the quality and value of the property

  4. The defect prevents the buyer from normal use or enjoyment of the property

  5. The buyer does not know about the defect and could not have reasonably suspected its presence prior to the transaction

How Legal Logik’s Real Estate Attorneys Can Help

If you have purchased a property and discovered a hidden defect not disclosed by the seller prior to the sale, a Legal Logik real estate attorney can work to get you:

  1. A reduction in the price paid.

  2. Reimbursement of the cost of repairs done or that must be done to repair the defect(s).

  3. Compensation for damages or inconveniences suffered from loss of enjoyment and use of the property.

  4. Exceptionally, cancellation of the purchase, return of the building to the seller and a reimbursement of the purchase price and damages.

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What Makes Legal Logik’s Services for Hidden Defects Unique?

Individualized Legal Services

We work with you in a collaborative relationship providing services tailored to your needs. Together, we’re a team, working to get the results that matter to you.

Results-Based Billing

Simply cover the costs and disbursements required to handle your file and a success fee if we obtain a favourable settlement.

A Proven Track Record for Results

Our attorneys have successfully helped countless clients resolve situations involving hidden defects, obliging the seller to make repairs or obtaining a favourable settlement.

Personable Service

We work with you in a collaborative relationship providing services tailored to your needs. Together, we’re a team, working to get the results that matter to you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hidden defect?

A hidden defect is any flaw or defect resulting from inferior design, deterioration, or an unseen construction mistake made prior to sale. By law in Quebec, the seller of a property must disclose to the buyer of a property any hidden defects that may negatively affect the quality or use of the property and any extension of it, including a pool, chimney, deck, shed, or garage.

The most common examples of hidden defects include:

  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Roof or insulation related defects
  • Plumbing or drainage problem
  • 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 having occurred in the home
CEO & Founder
Montréal

What is the Warranty of Quality?

When purchasing a home in Quebec, you are protected by the Warranty of Quality. This Warranty is essentially a promise from the seller to the buyer that the property, and any extension of it, such as a pool, shed, chimney or garage, is free and clear of any undisclosed defects.

If you discover a hidden defect, under the Warranty of Quality, you may be entitled to compensation from the seller.

CEO & Founder
Montréal

Are there exceptions to the Warranty of Quality?

There are several exceptions to the Warranty of Quality.

  1. Defects caused by the buyer: If you move into a home, and your actions cause, for example, plumbing problems, you cannot claim the problem is a hidden defect and take legal action against the seller.
  2. Sales under judicial authority: When a bank, municipal authority, or any other such entity that never had possession of property puts said property up for sale, the Warranty of Quality usually does not apply.

Succession sales: When buying a home from an estate as part of a succession sale, the legal warranty  does not usually apply. If you buy from a succession sale, you typically buy at your own risk.

CEO & Founder
Montréal

Can I sell without legal warranty?

For home sales between two parties that don’t fall into the above categories, it is also possible to remove the Warranty from the real estate transaction all together. The parties involved in a real estate transaction can choose to exclude the warranty of quality if they wish by mutually agreeing to do so and stating the precise limitations clearly in the deed of sale.

To successfully limit or exclude the Warranty of Quality, the correct and express terminology in the contract is essential.

In addition, there are cases when the Warranty of Quality cannot be limited. If you purchase a property from a professional seller, such as a real estate developer, under Quebec law the Warranty of Quality usually applies.

CEO & Founder
Montréal

Who is responsible for hidden defects?

In most cases, the seller is responsible for hidden defects. In Quebec, when selling a property, the seller is bound by law to disclose to the buyer any latent (hidden) defect(s) in the property which might negatively impact its use or value. If the seller doesn’t do so and knowingly sells a property without disclosing defects of which he is aware (or should be), he can be held liable and obliged by the court to compensate the buyer.

CEO & Founder
Montréal

If I discover a hidden defect, what legal recourse do I have?

If you have purchased a property and discovered a hidden defect not disclosed by the seller prior to the sale, you may have legal recourse to obtain one or more of the following:

  1. A reduction in the price paid.
  2. Reimbursement of the costs of repairs done or that must be done to repair the defect(s).
  3. Compensation for damages or inconveniences suffered from the loss of enjoyment or use of the property.
  4. Exceptionally, cancellation of the purchase, return of the property to the seller and a reimbursement of the purchase price and damages, where applicable.

Contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation to see how we can help you and to what type of compensation you may be entitled.

CEO & Founder
Montréal

How do you bill for services to help with hidden defects?

In many cases, we are able to take hidden defects cases on a No-Win No-Fee basis, making our assistance accessible and affordable to anyone. Simply cover the costs and disbursements required to administer your file. In the event that we successfully obtain compensation for you, we will collect a success fee proportional to the amount of the settlement.

During your free consultation with a Legal Logik attorney, we will be able to evaluate your case and, if there is justification to move forward with legal action, we will tell you what billing options are available to you.

CEO & Founder
Montréal

What should I do if I have discovered a hidden defects?

The law is specific on what a buyer must do if a hidden defect is uncovered. To ensure the warranty of quality will apply and to increase the chances of finding a solution to the matter that is favorable to you, we recommend you follow the 10 steps outlined in our free report, What To Do If You Discover A Hidden Defect.

CEO & Founder
Montréal
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