To make matters worse, we'd just accepted an offer on this property a few days ago. In fact, the home inspection was yesterday and it passed with flying colours. But you can imagine that the buyer is looking at this deal a little bit differently today, now that there's a $100,000 of fire and smoke damage in the property.
So, what happens in a case like that, if damage occurs at a property between the time that it's purchased and the time the purchaser takes possession?
Well, the offer to purchase that we use in this province is quite clear that the risk of damage and loss to the property remains with the seller until the completion date. What that basically means is that the seller is responsible to deliver the property to the buyer, as promised, in substantially the same condition that it was in when the buyer agreed to purchase the home.
So, if something more simple occurred, like a water heater failed prior to possession, it would be up to the seller to replace that with something of similar utility for the buyer before the possession date. In a case like this, where you have extensive and massive damage, what you really have under the law, I believe is, is a frustration of the contract. In other words, the seller is not in a position where they can deliver the house in substantially the same condition. So the buyer is going to have the option to back out of this contract if they want to do that.
On the other hand, we've got insurance claims that could get involved and the buyer could end up pushing through and purchasing this house and actually ending up with a better home than they bargained for, as renovations occur and the property is renewed. So it remains to be seen where this one's going to go at this point, but as a buyer, you're protected against damage to the property that occurs before you move in and you're responsible for anything that might occur after you move in.
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