Is a seller required to be truthful in disclosing to a buyer that a house was built on potentially toxic landfill? That was the issue in a case decided last month in eastern Ontario.
For many years, Christian Ménard and Lillian Lalonde lived in a nice-looking, well-constructed bungalow on a manicured double lot outside the town of Embrun, Ont., a bedroom community near Ottawa.
When they decided to sell the house in 2011, they failed to advise their real estate agent that the house he had built in 1997 was sitting on a pre-existing landfill.
In late 2011, Jennifer Feeny and Gregory Parsons agreed to purchase the house on St. Pierre Rd. from Ménard. The agreement required the seller to provide a Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS).
One of the questions in the document reads, “Are you aware of possible environmental problems or soil contamination of any kind on the property or in the immediate area?”
The seller answered “unknown” to this question.