Homeowners listing a property for sale will be asked by their REALTOR® to complete a detailed residential Property Disclosure Statement (PDS).
A PDS can reduce the chance of a misunderstanding by allowing sellers to advise buyers about the condition of the property.
Thanks to BC Realtors
Although British Columbia doesn't have a law requiring property sellers to complete the PDS, BC Realtors make the form available to sellers who list their home on the MLS®.
The seller prepares the three-page document which can be legally incorporated into the Contract for Purchase and Sale.
The PDS itemizes potential problems such as asbestos insulation, unauthorized rental suites, renovations done without a permit, and unregistered easements or encroachments, and covers a wide range of questions including:
- Are you aware of any past or present underground oil storage tanks(s) on the premises
- Are you aware of any moisture and/or water problems in the walls, basement or crawl space?
- Are you aware if the premises have been used as a marijuana grow operation or to manufacture illegal drugs?
- Are you aware if the property, or any portion of the property, is designated or proposed for designation as a "heritage site" or of "heritage value" under the Heritage Conservation Act or under municipal legislation?
There are disclosure forms for different types of properties.
The Strata Property Disclosure Statement covers condominium-specific issues such as parking and storage allocations, special assessments, restrictions on age, pets or rentals and building envelope problems.
The Rural Property Disclosure Statement identifies issues related to rural land, such as the quality of well water, septic systems and flooding problems.
When completing a PDS, the seller typically must answer 'yes', 'no', 'do not know' or 'does not apply' to questions and is responsible for the accuracy of the information.
In some situations, such as an estate sale, the seller (or seller's representative) may not have enough information to complete the PDS, and the buyer will need to rely on other sources of information.
The PDS isn't a legally-binding warranty of the property’s condition. It’s a report explaining what the seller knows about the property, including known defects. Sellers should contact their lawyer if they have questions about the PDS (or any documentation) before signing on the dotted line.
Buyers should consider the PDS as a starting point for their own due diligence for the property.
A PDS isn't a substiture for a property inspection by a licensed inspector.
Sellers can be liable for damages if they misrepresent the condition of a property or conceal problems.
If you have questions about the PDS or disclosure, contact your Realtor.