January 10, 2022

Declarations by the Seller: a form for your protection

Selling a property involves various steps and obligations. In some cases, sellers must complete the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form provided by OACIQ (Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec). The following article will discuss what this form is, what information it contains, as well as the role of the real estate broker.

 

 

What is the Declarations by the Seller form?

The purpose of this form drafted by OACIQ in collaboration with the Quebec Association of Building Inspectors (AIBQ) is to protect all parties involved in a real estate transaction. With this form, buyers can obtain detailed information on the condition of the property, and sellers can protect themselves against potential suits.  

By completing the declaration, the seller can avoid being sued for a hidden defect, i.e., a defect unknown by the buyer at the time of the sale[1].

Once completed, the Declarations by the Seller form becomes an integral part of the seller’s brokerage contract and must be appended to any promise to purchase or mortgage documents[2] .

Is the Declarations by the Seller mandatory?

It depends on the type of property. It is mandatory for the sale, by a natural person, of a building that is primarily residential containing fewer than 5 dwellings, including property held in divided or undivided co-ownership[3] .   

The form is not mandatory when selling a property with five or more units, is primarily commercial, a lot without a building, or if the seller is a legal person. However, it is strongly recommended by OACIQ. This is also the case when you sell your house by yourself.

Completing the Declarations by the Seller

The real estate broker will work with the seller to complete each section of the form to the best of the seller’s knowledge.

The seller must enter all relevant information concerning the condition of the building and its history, including[4] [5]:

-        Year of construction

-        Status of current mortgage

-        Condition of the roof, heating, and plumbing

-        Water damage or infiltration

-        Renovations

-        Soil or structural problems

-        Insects or pests

-        Servitudes or other limitations on property rights

-        Presence of a cannabis plantation

-        Murder or suicide of a person

-        Rental conditions (leases, rights, and relationships) 

Sellers who have not actually lived in the home - as is the case when a property is sold by the estate - only have a limited knowledge of the home and cannot disclose issues they are unaware of. However, the seller still must complete the Declarations by the Seller form.

What is the role of the broker?

A real estate broker is the best placed professional to help the seller not forget any details when completing the declaration. According to the Real Estate Brokerage Act, the broker has the obligation of verifying and disclosing the information contained in the Declarations by the Seller, knowing that this could affect one or the other of the parties involved in the transaction. Moreover, the broker must be subsequently informed of any forgotten details. The broker will then have the seller complete an Amendments form, which will then be submitted to any prospective buyer.

An informed decision

In short, the Declarations by the Seller is a tool to reassure future owners by informing them of the property’s condition and history. A positive point for the seller: once these details are known, it becomes more difficult to negotiate the selling price downwards. In other words, this step is beneficial to all parties, in every sense of the word!

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