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Real estate law column by Bob Aaron

Court requires full disclosure in condo status certificate

A major decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal last week has raised the bar on the level of due diligence required by condominium corporations in preparing status certificates.

The origins of the case go back to September, 1997, when Kelly Jean Rainville bought one of 39 condominium townhouses on the Toronto waterfront in the Grand Harbour development on Lakeshore Blvd. W.

New tax scrutiny for inherited real estate

The Ontario government is cracking down on estate trustees who fail to declare accurately the full value of the assets of a deceased person. Starting January 1, 2015, estate representatives who receive a court certificate of appointment as estate trustee, commonly referred to as probate, will be required to file an estate information return with the Minister of Finance.

The return is due within 30 days after the estate representative receives a probate certificate from the court.

Builder's board can legally limit right to sue

Can a developer’s board of directors — appointed to serve at a new condo until owners can vote in their own board — prohibit buyers from suing for deficiencies that are not covered by the Tarion warranty?

Yes, according to a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal last month.

New-home buyers need better protection

The 150 purchasers in the failed Centrium condominium project might not have lost their combined deposits of $14.9 million had the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Tarion Warranty Corporation been more aggressive in carrying out their mandates to protect the public. The case became front page news in late August when Toronto lawyer Meerai Cho was arrested.

Agents on the hook for illegal in-law suites

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), the body that licenses and governs real estate agents, is cracking down on representatives who advertise two-unit homes without making clear whether the second unit — usually a basement apartment — is legal.

Many agents typically use wording such as, “Agents and seller do not warrant legal retrofit status of in-law suite.” Descriptions like this could disappear in the wake of two recent decisions of RECO discipline panels.

Will discipline hearing end risky SPIS form?

A recent decision of a discipline panel of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) could spell the end of the Seller Property Information Statement in Ontario.

The SPIS is a disclosure form published by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). Some real estate agents swear by the form, while others are strongly opposed to it.

Condo board fined for defying unit owners and court ruling

What happens if condominium board members fail to comply with the Condominium Act? That question was the focus of a case which ultimately wound up in Ontario’s Court of Appeal.

In 2011, following extensive garage repairs, the landscaping outside a 1970s-era Ottawa condominium complex required restoration. The Park Square complex (Carelton Condominium Corporation 145) consists of a tower with 142 residential units, a nine-storey underground parking garage and a landscaped courtyard which became the focus of bitter litigation.

'Use it or lose it' under the Land Titles system

Is it possible to claim possessory title to a parcel of someone else’s land if the registered owner entered the property only once during the claimant’s 10 years of otherwise undisturbed occupation?

That was the question facing Justice Edward Morgan in a case which came before him this past June.

Sellers' form still troubling the real estate industry

The Seller Property Information Statement, a disclosure form created by the real estate industry, continues to cause grief for sellers, buyers — and real estate agents.

Back in August, 2008, Daniel Fors bought a house in Thunder Bay from Vance and Dorothy Overacker for $392,000. Jack Mallon was the real estate agent for the sellers on the transaction.

Following closing, the buyer experienced significant water problems in the basement and roof.

More to a tree trunk than meets the eye

Who owns a tree which straddles the property line between my house and my neighbours? Can I cut it down without their permission?

That was the issue which brought two neighbours before the provincial Superior Court twice last year, and again before the Court of Appeal in December. 


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