A hidden defect is any flaw or defect that arises from the design, quality, age, or construction of a building. This could also involve an unnoticed error made during the construction period and prior to the sale.
Quebec’s Civil Code stipulates that during the sale, an immovable good must be
"… exempt from hidden vices rendering the building unfit for its intended use or which decrease its usefulness to such an extent that the buyer would not have paid as high a price if he had been aware of said vices.”(Art. 1726, QCC.)
It’s important for sellers to know their right regarding hidden defects in Quebec, which can hinder the act of sale.
What exactly qualifies as a hidden defect?
Hidden defects can range from moot to weak beams, clogged drainage systems, cracked pipes, faulty roofs or dangerously crooked staircases. To avoid these issues, which may only resurface after the act of sale, sellers should hire professional and reliable home inspectors who can check the house thoroughly for any bad signs. If buyers find a hidden defect shortly after purchase, they will probably exercise their rights to contest the sale on terms of withheld information. A list of local home inspectors can be found on the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors’ website.
How can you protect yourself from hidden defects?
Hidden defect insurance protects you against legal actions due to hidden defects and lasts one year after the date of purchase. In the case that a legal claim is made against you regarding a hidden defect, the insurance provides you with the fees necessary to assert your rights in the transaction. This could be an interesting option for sellers of older homes, where hidden defects are more common.