What you need to know about latent defects

Many home buyers worry about uncovering latent defects. These defects, which are impossible to detect at the time of purchase, interfere with the normal use of the building or reduce its value.

Since you can’t exclude the possibility of discovering a latent defect, it’s best to be prepared and well-informed. Here is some information taken from the La Capitale blog to help you keep your cool if you should have to deal with this situation.

1.Legal Access Insurance can lend you a helping hand

Before looking at homes, it’s a good idea to add Legal Access Insurance to your home or auto insurance. This additional coverage, available at a very reasonable cost, allows you to obtain help in protecting and defending your rights in many situations, including in the case of a latent defect.

2. It’s to your advantage to have a qualified professional do a pre-purchase inspection

Even if it’s not mandatory, pre-purchase inspections increase the chances that hidden defects discovered after purchase will be covered under the law, since taking this precaution demonstrates that you did your due diligence as a purchaser.

One tip: Choose a building expert or inspector who has liability insurance. This way, you could take action to be compensated if any errors or omissions are committed.

3. Favour homes with a legal warranty

Not having a legal warranty limits your recourse rights if you discover a latent defect after purchase.

4. If you discover a latent defect, the following are the major steps for asserting your rights:

  • Obtain legal advice and help through your Legal Access Insurance, a lawyer or mediator, as soon as you discover the defect.
  • Verify all documents related to the purchase of the home (seller’s declaration, purchase offer, inspection report, etc.) to ensure that the problem wasn’t declared in writing before you signed the deed of sale in the notary’s office.
  • Have an inspection done to find out how the defect was caused, the severity of the damage, the type of work needed to repair it, an estimate of repair costs, etc.
  • Send a letter to the seller informing him or her of the situation within six months maximum after discovering the defect. Tell the seller that he or she can evaluate the situation by entering the premises or mandating the expert of his or her choice to do so and describe what you are asking him or her to do to remedy the defect.
  • Don’t begin repairing the defect until the seller has responded to your letter. You are required to give him or her the opportunity to take stock and remedy the situation.
  • If you reach an out-of-court settlement with the seller, make sure to get it in writing! The seller will probably request you to sign a discharge confirming that both parties consider that the dispute has been satisfactorily resolved. Ensure that you are satisfied before signing this document since it puts a final end to the matter.
  • You have a maximum of three years after discovering a latent defect to initiate legal procedures if you are unable to come to an agreement with the seller.


Take advantage of the partnership with La Capitale!

If you’re a DuProprio buyer or seller, ask La Capitale General Insurance for a quote. You’ll receive an additional 5% discount, and you could save up to $425 by bundling your home, auto and leisure vehicle insurance.

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