Pre-Purchase Inspections: It’s Important to Follow up!

Understanding the Law

Doing a professional inspection once your offer to purchase a home has been accepted provides you with added protection. It allows you to raise the issue of a hidden defect if you discover one later on. But did you know that, to protect your rights, you must follow up on recommendations made in the inspection report?

Purchased in the summer, problems in the spring

In June 2018, a couple visited a house several times. After making an offer to purchase, the couple had a professional home inspection done. The sale was then finalized at the agreed-upon price of $580,000, and the couple moved in that summer.

However, the following spring, a plaster wall in the garage was blackened due to humidity. The couple called in an expert who determined that the problem was caused by water infiltration from the roof and estimated the repair cost at $35,000. The couple decided to sue the sellers for a hidden defect.

The court’s decision

Unfortunately for the couple, the court rejected their claim. Why? The couple should have followed up on a recommendation made in the inspection report.

The judge explained that a hidden defect is one that is serious, was unknown to the buyers, and could not reasonably have been detected before the purchase.

On this third point, the judge noted that the inspection report mentioned some water stains on a wall of the house. The inspector could not determine if there was still a water infiltration problem or if it had been solved. However, the inspector advised the couple to investigate the problem further, which they did not do.

The judge considered that the warning given by the inspector should have led the couple to explore the cause of the water stains. This might have enabled them to determine that the problem was still an active one. The judge therefore found that the defect was not a “hidden” one, in legal terms, and rejected the couple’s claim for compensation.

If you’re interested: you can read the entire decision (in French only) on the Soquij website here.