What you need to disclose when selling your home

Never try to actively conceal any structural defects

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From the December 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Q: I’m selling my house but there’s some leaking in the basement. Legally, do I need to disclose this to prospective buyers?

— Wet & Worried, Calgary

A: If the leaking is dangerous to the structure of your home, you’d better disclose it, says Toronto real estate lawyer Martin Rumack. Not only because it’s a vital fact that the buyer needs to be aware of, but also because you could be sued for misrepresenting the house and be liable for damages when the buyer later discovers the problem. What’s more, the court could even revoke the sale of your home. Even if the leaking doesn’t pose any serious problems, never try to actively conceal any structural defects. While it’s always the buyer’s responsibility to inspect a home to their satisfaction, “acting in good faith in the execution of a contract is an implied term,” says Rumack. If your leaking issue is properly fixed before any buyer sees it, then it’s not necessary to volunteer that it occurred. Otherwise, honesty really is the best policy.

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