Property Disclosure Statements are used throughout metro-Vancouver in British Columbia. But attention to completeness is too often ignored. Here's why it's important to have the form accurate.
A Property Disclosure Statement (PDS) lists potential issues such as:
- underground oil storage tanks
- asbestos insulation
- limitations on development due to raparian zone or heritage designation
- water or moisture issues in the attic, crawlspace, walls
- unauthorized rental suites
- used as grow-op or drug house
- renovations without permits
- unregistered easements or encroachments
Listing agents have a responsibility to ensure the PDS is completed and available for viewing by a prospective buyer. However it is all too easy to circumvent the document by ticking off the 'Do Not Know' box. From my persective the real value here is to identify latent defects, which is a fault in the property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale. Home inspectors look for patent defects, those that can be discovered by inspection and vigilance on the part of the inspector or buyer.
As a buyer, I would hold the seller's agent accountable to review and revise every 'Do Not Know' entry in the PDS. Real estate transaction fees demand a high level of service, which includes 'digging deep' for answers to the Property Disclosure Statement.