history now available through HomeVerified and it has the potential to
become an industry standard in every residential house purchase.
A new type of home
history report is now available on the market, and it has the potential
to become an industry standard in every residential house transaction.
The report, compiled by HomeVerified (homeverified.ca),
a company based in London, is available for homes in every major
municipality in Canada. Distribution and sales of the reports are being
handled by Teranet, the company
which owns and operates Ontario’s electronic land registration and title
search services on behalf of the province of Ontario.
A typical home history report will include the following information:
The grow-op registry
may be the most valuable component of the home history report for home
buyers. HomeVerified’s comprehensive database has been assembled from
countless Freedom of Information requests made to police forces across
the country. (Disclosure by some police forces has not been as complete
as hoped for, but the database includes all addresses that are currently
I can also foresee the
HomeVerified report eventually being used for every Canadian mortgage
and refinance application by those lenders who do not compile their own
database of grow-op properties.
Alex Weiner, owner of
HomeVerified, told me last week that he started this venture because “we
were amazed that anyone conducting their due diligence when buying a
car could obtain a vehicle history report with insurance claims and
other information, but there was no report for a resale home, which is
usually the single largest purchase most Canadians ever make.”
A sample report is available on the company’s website at homeverified.ca.
The insurance claim
portion of the report is assembled from a database of 8 million
insurance company records. Each report will disclose whether the home
has been the subject of a claim for water or fire damage, burglary or
theft, windstorm or hail, vandalism or malicious acts, glass breakage,
building collapse or any other type of damage.
report is available to real estate agents, lawyers, banks and other
Teranet subscribers for $39.95. Homeowners and non-Teranet subscribers
can buy the reports for $69.95, plus HST.
In each case, the
current owner of the home must consent to the release of the report. The
standard form Ontario Real Estate Association listing agreement
contains language broad enough to permit realtors to order the reports
for homes they list. Home sellers who do not wish the report to be
ordered should provide clear instructions to their agents when offering
their homes for sale.
As valuable as this
HomeVerified report will be to the real estate market, I have serious
doubts that a current homeowner has the authority to authorize the
release and distribution of the claims history of his or her house made
by prior owners.
position on privacy is based on a 2011 Alberta Court of Appeal decision
involving Leon’s Furniture, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court
of Canada. HomeVerified interprets that case to mean that the claims
history of a house is only about the property and does not disclose any
personal information about the prior owner who made the claim.
My own view is that
since the names of the prior owners are readily and publicly available
from a title search, the information about their claims (for example,
the theft of a large quantity of valuable jewelry) is personal and
should not be disclosed.
question may well be decided by provincial privacy commissioners across
the country if objections are made to the release of personal claims
In the meantime, a
number of real estate agents I spoke to last week strongly endorse the
HomeVerified report and have told me that they intend to start using it
Bob Aaron is a sole practitioner at the law firm of Aaron & Aaron
in Toronto and a past board member of the Tarion Warranty Corp. Bob
specializes in the areas of real estate, corporate and
commercial law, estates and wills and landlord/tenant law. His Title Page column appears alternate Fridays in The Toronto Star and alternate weeks on Move Smartly. E-mail email@example.com