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Ontario has made progress on regulating home inspectors

  • August 29, 2017
  • by Will Davidson LLP
  • home inspection, property law, property lawyer, real estate, Toronto property lawyers, Will Davidson LLP,

Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions a person can make. It takes time, careful consideration, and a significant financial investment. That’s why prospective homebuyers in the GTA hire experienced Toronto property lawyers to help them through the complex purchasing process, including home inspections.

Most homebuyers don’t have the unique expertise required to accurately assess the quality of a home. While a simple eyeball test may reveal aesthetic issues or major deficiencies, home inspectors can identify more subtle areas for concern. However, until recently this profession was completely unregulated in Ontario, and some real estate agents took advantage of the situation by recommending home inspectors who could help them close a sale.

Glenda Halliwell, for example, bought her home in 2006.

“My agent told me that it was a great house, great price,” she told the CBC in 2015. “He said if I didn’t buy it, he would.

Unfortunately, the home inspector her agent recommended didn’t do his job: Halliwell eventually discovered mold, leaks, and a series of other problems that cost her nearly $100,000 to correct. Halliwell took the inspector to court, where she was represented by Will Davidson LLP’s David Morin, one of the firm’s accomplished Toronto property lawyers.

The inspector “was found 100 per cent liable for failure to adequately warn and explain his visual findings, and to make sure his client understood,” Morin said in an interview with the CBC.

Improvements in Ontario

Thanks to the efforts of provincial legislators, reputable home inspectors, and Toronto property lawyers like David, the situation in Ontario has improved. Last August, the Liberal government announced it would introduce new legislation to better protect homebuyers and regulate the home inspection industry.

“Home inspectors are one of the only professionals involved in a real estate transaction that are not currently provincially regulated,” then-Minister of Government and Consumer Services Marie-France Lalonde told reporters. “This is clearly a gap in consumer protection in Ontario’s real estate sector. And this can lead to serious consequences to consumers. If potential homebuyers or sellers end up getting a substandard inspection report they are at risk of being left with unexpected costs, the loss of a sale, or, worse, potentially health and safety risks.”

The legislation was tabled in November 2016, and in April, the Home Inspection Act 2017 passed. Under the new law, home inspectors are required to be licensed and insured to work in Ontario, and must sign a written contract with the homeowner prior to performing an inspection. The industry, once a Wild West, is now much more likely to benefit Ontario homebuyers.

If you have purchased a new home or received a negligent home inspection, contact the Toronto property lawyers at Will Davidson LLP today to find out how our experienced, knowledgeable team can help.

 

Image credit: Mark Moz/Flickr

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