Filling out the Declaration of the Seller transparently: Why it’s so important
Published on September 17, 2019
Anyone selling a property should take some time to fill out the seller's declaration to the best of their knowledge. This 6-page form should be taken seriously. Think of it as a property’s pedigree. The Declaration of the Seller form is available for free at Duproprio.com. It is used to provide information to potential buyers about the state of the home that’s for sale, to set them at ease and to protect the seller who reveals everything they know about the property.
Find out what the obligations of a seller’s declaration are, how to fill it out transparently and how to protect yourself.
- What’s a seller’s declaration?
- Showing good faith
- Two musts: The seller’s declaration and the inspection
- Does the seller’s declaration protect against hidden defects?
- When to give the seller’s declaration
- Download the Declaration of the Seller form
- Need help to fill out your declaration correctly?
The seller’s declaration gives a complete picture of the home and its history. The seller uses it to write down all significant information that could affect the property value.
“Filling out this form only takes a few minutes, and it’s in the owner’s best interest to get it done as soon as the home goes on the market,” explained Elena-Maria Bejan, a notary with DuProprio. “It’s a good way to be fully transparent in your transaction.”
Here are some of the things you’ll find in a seller’s declaration:
- Who the seller is (name, contact information, etc.)
- General information about the property (year built, year purchased, etc.)
- Problems to declare about the property (apparent defects and factors that can decrease the property’s value, such as a water leakage issues, insulation problems)
- Renovations and major work done over the years
- The seller’s signature, and a confirmation of receipt that the buyer will have to sign
Divided vs. undivided co-ownership
When selling a co-owned property, all the information on the contingency fund must be included. For a divided co-ownership, you must give information on the private portions (your unit) and the common portions of the building.
By filling out your seller’s declaration to the best of your knowledge right from the start, you are showing that you intend to conduct the selling in good faith. You are also reducing the risk of the transaction failing or ending in difficult negotiations. And, if a buyer gets a professional inspection done, they won’t be caught off guard if your report had already revealed a flaw.
Tip: Find the seller’s declaration that was given to you when you bought the property. Check your bills and photos to prove that you’ve renovated. Note all the problems that have arisen while you were the owner and how they were settled, if they were.
The buyer must be vigilant during the buying process. The buyer is required to take the necessary measures to check the property’s quality, for instance by doing their own visual inspection and by using the services of a building inspector. These measures allow the potential buyer to verify the seller’s declarations and confirm that no apparent defect has been omitted.
Any defect that is revealed in the pre-purchase inspection and in the seller's declaration cannot be considered a hidden defect and cannot be used as a reason to sue the owner, since that defect was known to the buyer at the time of the sale. For a seller, the best protection against a possible legal dispute is to be honest and transparent.
However, a buyer can take legal action if the seller acts in bad faith. For instance, if a seller intentionally leaves out information that could have impacted the transaction or the price of the home, that seller may end up in front of a judge—regardless of whether or not the building was sold with a legal warranty.
Finding a hidden defect is every new owner’s nightmare. Under paragraph 1726 of the Civil Code of Quebec, a hidden defect, also known as a latent defect, is one that existed at the time the residence was purchased, was not known to the buyer and was not apparent.
With legal warranty
Unless otherwise indicated, every property in Quebec is sold with a legal warranty. Even if the seller did not know a hidden defect existed, they may be ruled responsible. The law states: “The seller is bound to warrant the buyer that the property and its accessories are, at the time of the sale, free of latent defects which render it unfit for the use for which it was intended or which so diminish its usefulness that the buyer would not have bought it or paid so high a price if he had been aware of them1.” The legal warranty allows a property buyer to demand that repairs for a hidden defect be paid for by the former owner.
Good to know: The best way to protect yourself from a potential lawsuit is to mention all the problems with the building in the seller’s declaration. Then, the buyer is aware of the defect and cannot hold you responsible for it. However, anyone making a false declaration in the deed of sale is subject to legal remedies. If you omit information, alter reality or outright lie, you could be ordered to pay damages.
Without a legal warranty
If a house is sold with the mention “a sale without legal warranty of quality, at the buyer’s risk and peril,” as is often the case with estates, repossessions or very old buildings, the buyer cannot file a lawsuit against the seller if a hidden defect is found, unless that defect was deliberately omitted from the information.
The seller’s declaration should be given to any buyer intending to submit an offer to purchase. The form must be signed by the buyer and appended to the offer to purchase. The declaration can also be shared with the building inspector, to help them write up a detailed report on the property.
You can download the Declaration of the Seller form for free from our website, in the Buy section.
Filling out the form with total transparency will give you peace of mind and help the potential buyer make an informed decision.
Schedule some time with one of our advisors to find out what support DuProprio offers so you can sell your property worry-free.