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What is an SPIS for?

Tis the season

Saturday, June 21, 2014 was the official start of summer and we are now in the busier real estate season. Some of you may be buying and some selling residential properties, and often at this time of the year Agreements of Purchase and Sale are being negotiated at a fast pace.

SPIS

If you are putting in an offer on a residential property, one of the conditions your real estate agent or lawyer may want to put into the Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a condition related to the Vendor providing you, the Purchaser, will a Seller Property Information Statement (also known as the SPIS or Form 220). Most real estate agents and lawyers will encourage the potential Purchaser to request the SPIS and most Vendor's real estate agents and lawyers will discourage the Vendor from providing an SPIS. 

What is the SPIS you ask? See an example here. It is further information that the Vendor is providing about the property they are selling. The Vendor can disclose information such as how long they owned the property, whether any renovations were done to the property during the Vendor's ownership and whether permits were required for said renovations. A lot of useful information can be disclosed to the potential Purchaser through the SPIS.
Lawyers are hesitant to encourage Vendors to provide the SPIS as they are unsure of how the information provided in the SPIS will be construed if there are issues that are found with the home. Will the Vendor be held accountable if they answer a question incorrectly or if they don't include information on the SPIS? Will the Purchaser be required to ask more questions based on the information the Vendor has provided in the SPIS.

Court Decisions:

Several Court decisions discuss the impact the SPIS has on real estate transactions in situations where a disagreement comes up between Purchasers and Vendors. Here are some examples:
· Krawchuk v. Scherbak 2011 CarswellOnt 3015, 2011 ONCA 352, [2011] O.J. No. 2064, 106 O.R. (3d) 598, 201 A.C.W.S. (3d) 848, 279 O.A.C. 109, 332 D.L.R. (4th) 310, 4 C.L.R. (4th) 1, 5 R.P.R. (5th) 173, 82 C.C.L.T. (3d) 179;
· Barker v. Ford; 2008 CarswellOnt 6674;
· Coleman v. Schade 2012 CarswellOnt 2840, [2012] O.J. No. 1035, 214 A.C.W.S. (3d) 296;
· Costa v. Wimalasekera 2012 CarswellOnt 13889, [2012] O.J. No. 6365, 225 A.C.W.S. (3d) 842, 24 R.P.R. (5th) 186

See what the Ontario Real Estate Association has to say about the SPIS: http://www.oreablog.com/2012/04/spis-an-orea-best-practice-3/
*Please note this is just one aspect of a real estate transaction. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the lawyers in our office, particularly those who practice real estate.
Remember:Everyone's situation and experiences are unique. The blogs posted on this site are informational. They are not intended to be taken as legal advice for any particular situation. It is always a good idea to seek professional legal advice before making any decisions related to your particular case.

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