Real Estate: Buying Without a Legal Warranty

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You finally found the house of your dreams. The seller insists on selling without a legal warranty, at your risk and peril. What is a legal warranty? What are the consequences of giving it up?

What is a legal warranty?

A legal warranty protects your purchase of real estate like a condo, a duplex, etc. It protects you against any hidden defects that were unknown at the time of purchase and that were not revealed by the pre-purchase inspection. For example, mold that was hidden in the walls.

If this happens, you can use the legal warranty to force the seller to fix the problem at their cost. You can even cancel the purchase if it’s impossible to repair the problem.

The legal warranty is normally automatic. You don’t have to ask the seller to provide it.

Attention!

You cannot use the legal warranty to ask the seller to repair a problem that they declared it in the seller’s declaration. The legal warranty also does not cover any defects that would have been revealed in a pre-purchase inspection, an up-to-date certificate of location, or a land registry search by a notary.

Can the seller exclude the legal warranty?

Yes, the seller can exclude the legal warranty. The offer to purchase must indicate that the sale is made “without legal warranty, at your risks and peril”.

However, they cannot surprise you with this! They must inform you before signing any agreement no matter what. You can also negotiate this clause with the seller.

If the legal warranty is excluded, you will not be able to sue the seller for any problems due to hidden defects. Your only option would be to show that the seller hid the truth about a part of the sale that was important to you. In fact, that part must be so important to you that if you had known about it, you would not have bought the house.