Incidents of real estate title or mortgage fraud are increasing in Canada and homeowners and lenders are proving to be irresistible targets for fraud artists. The role of legal professionals and title insurance companies has become critical in the fight to detect and prevent fraud. Homeowners can protect themselves through independent legal advice, the purchase of title insurance and exercising caution when signing legal documents. The financial loss which a homeowner could sustain as a victim of fraud could be huge.
Legal Articles by James Boll
If you are selling real estate today you may be asked by your real estate agent to complete and sign a Seller Property Information Statement (“SPIS”). These forms are the product of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). It is not a legal requirement that you sign these forms when you list your property for sale.
If you are buying a resale home and don’t want to inherit the sellers headaches, a home inspection by a professional should be given serious consideration. If a home inspection is ordered, your offer to purchase is usually conditional on you being satisfied with the inspection so that if the inspection is not satisfactory, there is no deal.
From time to time we have condominium owners asking if they should get involved in the decision making and operation of the Condominium Corporation. In our experience the Condominium Corporation works best when there is an active interest by all members.
The story takes place in Stratford where Jean and Harry Weitzner lived together for 38 years prior to Harry’s tragic death in a fire in 1989. Harry left a will naming his wife as his sole heir.
For about 30 years, Harry operated a scrapyard on the site, using a portion of his home as a business office. The property was sold by Jean to Hermans in 1997 who then had the house demolished by Cornelius Goncalves.
During the demolition, a fire extinguisher rolled out of a crawl space under the business office in the home. An unspecified quantity of silver coins were found in the extinguisher, along with $130,000 in old $50 and $100 bills. The money was in 26 neat bundles of $5,000 each.
If you are considering purchasing a farm property or if you are in the midst of a farm purchase you should be aware that a lower “farm lands property class” tax assessment enjoyed by the current owner may not be transferrable to you as a purchaser unless certain formalities are observed.