Photo: Canadian press
On March 13, 2018, a home in Shaunnisi, a provincial settlement in Vancouver, is displayed.
It was a "stunning" property in the heart of downtown Toronto, but for Caroline Bane, it was a difficult sale.
This is because the home was the site of a recent homicide, a domestic dispute has become fatal. Baile would tell potential buyers about the tragic death that had taken place, but the story of the property was already known thanks to the intense media coverage of the crime.
"It was a challenge to sell it," she said, not wanting to get into too many details about protecting customer privacy. "So, we ended up with a lease to cover transport costs."
Renters were aware of the property's history and after media attention was reduced, the property was sold.
But for some people, the knowledge that the killing has occurred in the home is enough to make them go away from the purchase – even if it is in a steep discount on a hot market.
That is, for those who are aware that something has happened.
While there are rules that require the publication of property issues such as a defect like a roof in the roof or a mold, for non-physical problems like violent crime, the law largely says that a "cheater" or a buyer is kept, said Alan Silverstein, real estate based in Ontario.
Quebec has a law requiring the seller to disclose when a person died an unnatural death on their property. But in other provinces, directions are blurred.
"Murder is more psychological than factual … When you enter the field of murders and suicides, natural causes, we have no clear rules," said Silverstein.
There are also different directions for agents or sellers, he added.
In Ontario, for example, the seller has no legal requirement to discover a stigma such as murder, and the obligation is for the buyer and their realtor to find out.
However, real estate agents in the province have an ethical obligation to discover the existence of stigmas, according to the Real Estate Association in Ontario.
Agents are also obliged to tell potential buyers about these issues as soon as possible, said Barry Lebow, a real estate agent in Toronto and an expert on stigmatized properties.
"You can not find it at the table once you have an offer … you do not wait until the last minute, but that's happening," he said.
If an agent or seller is asked a question, they can not give a false answer, said Silvestin.
The former owner of the Vancouver Palace taught this lesson after B.C. The Supreme Court ordered the return of the $ 300,000 deposit after the sale collapsed, as she did not tell the buyer for the suspicion of killing her brother-in-law at the front door in 2007.
Feng Yun Shao departed from her offer of $ 6.1 million in the 9,000-square-meter building in 2009 just days after the handover of the deposit. The prominent buyer asked why they were selling and was told that the owner had returned to China and her daughter moved to a location close to her child's school, according to court documents.
Neither the owner, her daughter or landlord told Shao about the unsettled murder, and the judge said she was the victim of a "misleading misinterpretation".
However, as homes change hands over the years, the dark secrets of property are not always transmitted.
"If the seller does not know about anything, it is difficult to hold the responsibility," said Silverstein.
It is also unclear how far back in the history of the property must be revealed. Some jurisdictions, such as California, predict that the seller is obliged to disclose the death of the property if it happened within three years prior to the sale.
"We need some tough and fast rules," said Silverstein.
Buyers who do not feel comfortable living in a home where a violent crime occurred have to do extensive research on any property that catches the eye. In addition to obvious online searches, potential buyers should also ask their potential home information neighbors, Silverstein said.