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    Listing a Property Known to House a Grow Op? What are Your Disclosure Obligations?
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    The disclosure obligations of real estate agents in Ontario are unclear for what are commonly referred to as stigmatized properties. But disclosure is clearly required for one category of stigmatized properties; that being homes that were used in a grow-op operation. The RECO website has a notice about marijuana grow houses which states that ?Brokers and salespersons are obligated to disclose any material fact about a property that they are aware of that could affect a person?s decision to buy, including if the home is a former grow op.?

    There are discipline decisions available on the RECO website that confirm RECO?s position that members are required to disclose if a property was a former grow op. A decision from 2007and one from 2011 resulted in the same penalty against the agents for failure to disclose, a requirement to pay $15,000.

    In Ottawa the Ottawa Real Estate Board, the police and the municipalities have worked together to make publicly available the locations of grow ops on a website maintained by the Ottawa Police found at http://www.ottawapolice.ca/en/servingottawa/sectionsandunits/drugs/index.aspx. Locations are only listed for three months. People wanting information on specific properties can make an inquiry of the Ottawa City Clerk.

    I have contacted Barrie Police to inquiry how to obtain similar information in Barrie. I was informed that you need to make your inquiry in writing to the Barrie Police Freedom of Information Officer providing your name and the property in question and you will be advised if the property is known to have been a former grow op. There is no fee for this service.

    Now that we have talked about disclosure it is important to determine how and when that disclosure will be made. I feel in fairness to the seller disclosure should be handled in a limited and delicate manner. I am a fan of simply stating in the listing that ?any interested parties should contact the listing agent for further details?. By putting in this discrete notice you ensure that those that intend to make an offer are fully informed before making the offer while not making negative facts publicly available unnecessarily. In many cases the material fact will have limited impact most likely resulting in a discount to the purchase price which is the appropriate way to allocate the risk for this issue.

    Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.





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