Legally Speaking

Enforce Your Rights, or Lose Them #542

Anyone who has been involved in a transaction for a property under construction is likely familiar with the potential for delays of completion. While developers don’t often fail to deliver, it can happen. What happens when significant delays do occur? Can a developer be in default under the contract? What about the innocent party in

Tips for Using Clauses and Amending Contracts of Purchase and Sale #541

Standard form contracts of purchase and sale are very useful in real estate transactions. They are familiar, well-tested, and cover off all the basics and much more. However, real estate is complicated and the one-size-fits-all approach may not fit every situation. In cases where a standardized contract of purchase and sale does not entirely address the specific needs of the transaction adding terms and conditions – or

Testing the Waters: Transactions Involving Float Homes #540

Float homes can seem like great options for buyers seeking an affordable waterfront location. However, buyers considering purchasing their first float home may not be aware of some of the differences between such a purchase, and the simple purchase of a boat, or home on land. Here’s an overview of some differences to keep in

Co-Ownership Agreements: “Till Dispute Do Us Part” #539

With the cost of properties continuing to rise in most parts of British Columbia, many people are looking to invest or acquire properties with others. While the co-ownership of property can have financial benefits at the outset, it can also come with a host of problems and disputes. Therefore, parties should consider entering into a

Assignee Beware #538

In a caveat emptor, or buyer beware, jurisdiction such as BC, buyers are required to conduct their own due diligence to satisfy themselves as to the condition of the property they are acquiring. They often employ experts such as home inspectors and environmental, structural and geotechnical engineers to assist them in this regard. These experts

Hot Markets: Risks and Tips to Avoid Getting Burned #537

How hot is the current hot market? Hot enough that earlier this month, the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) issued a caution to consumers and real estate professionals, reminding consumers of the importance of due diligence and reminding real estate professionals to have full and frank discussions with consumers, fully explaining the increased risks

Working with Unrepresented Parties #536

Since the restriction on limited dual agency was introduced in 2018, it has become more common for REALTORS® to work with unrepresented parties in a transaction. Dealing with unrepresented parties presents risks to both consumers and Realtors. Realtors should be familiar with the Real Estate Rules for dealing with unrepresented parties so that they understand

Learning from an RECBC Discipline Decision #535

Starting in 2016, the real estate profession has seen numerous regulatory changes, including increased fines, new regulations, greater involvement from the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) and the elimination of limited dual agency. As a result, I have tried to focus many of my more recent articles on discipline decisions of RECBC. While discipline

A Whole Lot to Know About the Land Owner Transparency Act #533

On November 30, 2020, the Land Owner Transparency Act1 (LOTA) came into effect, and with it, the Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR). Now, with every change in title to a property in British Columbia, a transparency declaration must be filed with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA). Individuals acquiring an interest

Powers of Attorney Can Be Tricky #532

Licensees must be aware of the challenges that exist when representing someone who claims to have the legal right to act on behalf of a property owner on the basis of a power of attorney. Is the power of attorney valid? Was it properly executed? Does it empower the attorney to deal with real property?

Beyond Your Expertise: When to Recommend Clients Get Legal Advice #531

The Question I am asked for advice from licensees on potential claims daily. They often describe a scenario involving complex matters beyond the expertise of a licensee, such as taxes, structural issues/defects or complicated legal questions, like whether a contract alive or dead? They want to know what they should do and what they should

Knowing the Rules May Not Be Enough #529

A recent discipline decision from the Real Estate Council of BC (Council) illustrates how important it is for licensees to be aware of and follow Council guidelines and their interpretations, which can be found in newsletters, notices, articles, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, all readily available on Council’s website. In this decision,1 a couple

Suing for Unpaid Deposits #527

Generally speaking, if a buyer breaches a contract for the purchase of real estate and the seller accepts the buyer’s refusal to perform the contract (as known as “repudiation”), an innocent seller is entitled to retain the deposit paid by the buyer under a contract of purchase and sale. But what happens when a buyer

Necessity is the Mother of Invention #526

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected many parts of our society and economy – including the real estate industry. Terms many of us hadn’t heard of just three months ago – social distancing, self-isolation, lockdown, and Zoom conferencing – are now as common as, “What’s for lunch?” Buying real estate, particularly in a caveat emptor

Protect Your Clients and Reduce Claims Risks During COVID-19 #525

These are unprecedented times with the arrival of COVID-19. We have all heard that many times and it’s true for all industries, including real estate. Although the market has slowed down, there will still be deals made and deals completed. There will also still be claims made against licensees. For the most part, these claims

Collapsing Deals: A Refresher on the Common Law Principles #524

The current situation with COVID-19 has led to daily changes in the way we live our lives and conduct our business. The rapid changes and daily announcements have led to a lot of uncertainty and questions. In periods of flux, whether economic, political or social, we often see a greater number of collapsing real estate