What is a hidden defect?
A hidden defect is a defect in the property. For the defect to be considered hidden, it must be unknown to the buyer at the time of the sale.
If you had been aware of the defect at that time, you might not have bought the property in question or you would have negotiated a reduction in the sale price.
Real estate sales are generally accompanied by a warranty of quality. Indeed, according to Section 1726 of the Civil Code of Québec:
“The seller is bound to warrant the buyer that the property and its accessories are, at the time of the sale, free of latent defects which render it unfit for the use for which it was intended or which so diminish its usefulness that the buyer would not have bought it or paid so high a price if he had been aware of them.
The seller is not bound, however, to warrant against any latent defect known to the buyer or any apparent defect; an apparent defect is a defect that can be perceived by a prudent and diligent buyer without the need to resort to an expert.”
If you think that your property is affected by a latent defect, it is possible to sue the seller to obtain compensation for the damage sustained. If your seller refuses to comply and you win your case in the context of a legal proceeding, you can claim the cost of the work required to correct the defects affecting your building. In certain situations, when the building is affected by serious hidden defects, it is even possible to request the cancellation of the sale.
It is important to remember that, if the building purchased has been sold without a legal warranty, it is no longer possible to invoke a hidden defect against your seller. However, other avenues may be available to you. We can advise you in your efforts and assert your rights.
A consultation with one of our lawyers with a practice specializing in hidden defects will allow you to verify whether your property is really affected by a hidden defect or if you have instead been the victim of misrepresentations, silence, or reluctance from your seller.
It is recommended to look for a consultation before starting any corrective action. Performing work without prior written notice of defect or formal notice to your seller may make you lose your rights!