September 13, 2016 — Animal Reality created a new tab called Animals in Condos. Articles on this issue will be posted regularly. Brief accounts of court cases will allow readers to get acquainted with numerous realities about pets living in condos.
This first article summarizes a judgment of La Cour du Québec of 24 March 2016. It features a couple who intended to buy a condo in December 2012, but shortly after things went wrong.
From the outset, before signing a promise to purchase, buyers required a guarantee that they could move in with their cat in the coveted unit. They finally agreed to sign the promise without having obtained the guarantee. For its part, the realtor committed verbally to meet this demand. « She does not consider useful to include this additional requirement in the promise to buy, » recalls Mtre Luc Huppé, of the firm of advocates and notaries de Grandpré Joli-Coeur. The realtor admits, during the hearing: « That would have been preferable to do so.”
In submitting the offer to the unit owner, the cat issue was mentioned, the latter informed her that the regulations of the building prohibit the presence of cats in the units. The broker told him: « I guess it’s not a kitten that will fail this sale.”
Save the Transaction
In order not to derail the sale, the owner of the unit for sale requested the condo general assembly to amend the condominium regulations, so that the presence of pets would be allowed. She faced the hostility of unit owners, but in the end manages to convince them. This permission is conditional on whether it is a cat, a fish or a bird whose weight does not exceed 10 pounds.
The new rule prohibits access to animals in public areas, such as balconies and stairs, parking and land owned by the condominium. This regulation is too restrictive to the taste of the buyers, who call at the time of entering the common areas to get to the unit, they will never have animals in their possession. The buyers also believe that the owners do not really want their cat’s presence in the building, so they refuse to sign the deed of sale.
« All these arguments seem to be excuses to dodge the sale, » noted Mtre Luc Huppé. A hint that is reinforced by another important event during the transaction, the buyers decide not to live together, although they deny (in court) that this had anything to do with their refusal to buy. Also note that during the hearing, the promising purchasers have never admitted informing the promising seller that their cat weighed 11 pounds. They also confessed that they did not attempt to meet the sellers, to try to get adjusted to the new regulations, since the animal had an extra pound.
In the end, the promising seller cannot complete the transaction. She nevertheless finds a new buyer 13 months later, who pays $ 144,000 to purchase the condo, while the couple would have paid $ 154 900. The lady sued their promising buyers and their real estate broker. Verdict : the court considers that the promising buyers are responsible. It condemns them to pay the promising seller $ 23 456.97, with interests.
The court ruled that buyers have acted unreasonably. They should have initiated additional steps, in order to try to get a relaxation on the issue of excessive weight of the animal. « However, the judge dismissed the lawsuit against the broker, arguing that if she had done her job well, the seller would not have accepted the offer, which would have prevented him to suffer the consequences, » says Mtre Luc Huppé.
According to him, the lesson in this case comes down to the following: the buyer of a condo must, from the outset, clearly disclose any conditions regarding animal presence, and ensure that this information is registered properly in the tender offer. He must also check whether the condominium regulations allow the presence of animals. If it is written that animals are not allowed, the parties involved in a transaction can, however, attempt to obtain the necessary modifications to the condominium regulations, to prevent a sale from failing due to an animal.
Photo 1 : Neko412
Photo 2 : Voffka
Photo 3 : Adina Voicu
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