By Stan Albert
How far does duty of care as prescribed by the provincial regulators carry an obligation on a registrant?
I have served on my condo board in the past. Our current board is faced with a major reconstruction of our B1 and B2 levels. All the membranes have to be replaced and one entire wall rebuilt. The cost is enormous but we are covered by our reserve fund. The status certificate, upon review, will indicate that everything is in order with the exception of the details of the work to be done and approved.
So, how much does a real estate salesperson have to involve himself once he discovers that there is a great deal of work to be done in a condo building? Does he, for example, have to inquire how long will it take for the work to be done and what disruptions and/or inconveniences it may cause to a potential buyer?
In our building, in which we have lived for nearly 20 years, this is the second retrofit that we are going to experience. The first experience involved not only noise and dirt for the heavy equipment on site, but the major irritant was that the cars that normally park in B1 and B2 levels had to park in various locations around the building, on the street or in nearby park lots.
Condos that are 20- to 40-years-old, which are mainly of brick and/or concrete construction, begins to deteriorate. Wind, rain, winter weather and climate change have caused the exterior walls to become extremely porous and have caused damage to the interior walls of many unit owners’ property. Many boards will have to consider “enveloping” their buildings with a plasticized concrete, which is a reasonable and attractive solution to prevent further deterioration.
In Canada we have experienced countless litigation questioning a registrant’s duty of care.
Where does the duty of care begin or end? Is it not a registrant’s duty to inquire or to investigate whether the building in which he plans to sell a unit to a potential buyer may be contemplating major retrofits?
At present in Ontario, the Real Estate Council of Ontario does not require the registrant to have anything more than a cursory knowledge of the status certificate. It only requires that a certificate must be provided within a reasonable time limit.
So many sales reps’ flyers that I receive extol the virtues of their listings without truly investigating what lies beneath the status certificate.
On a personal note, my thanks go out to those of you who expressed concern about my health. I am happy to say all is well.