What you need to know about Stigmatized Real Estate in Regina

For real estate in Regina and places all over the world, the principle “caveat emptor” means “let the buyer beware.” Unless buying a new home, most properties come with no warranty and means that the buyer must be extra cautious when making the purchase. Today, the buyer is still required to make a reasonable inspection of the property upon purchase, though increased responsibilities have been given to the seller. The principle of “caveat venditor,” Latin for "let the seller beware" has become more prevalent.


As a result of “caveat venditor”, the common law and legislation have mandated that a seller and any real estate agent acting on behalf of a seller cannot withhold information about material defects on the property that are not readily observable. Which means that just because the defect can’t be seen, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be disclosed.

Caveat Emptor- let the buyer beware

Caveat Venditor- let the seller beware

This legislation tackles items that are sometimes observable but not always, as in shingles, windows, lack of attic insulation or structural issues etc.

 

But What About Stigmas That Are Attached To A Property?

Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”. In real estate, it generally refers to a property that bears certain unfavourable characteristics that may make the property less attractive to buyers.

What are considered Stigmas for real estate in Regina?

Public stigma – when the stigma is known to a wide selection of the population and any reasonable person can be expected to know of it. For example, the property in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia owned by former pig farmer and convicted serial killer, Robert Pickton.

Criminal stigma – the property was used in the ongoing commission of a crime. For example, the property has been used as a brothel, drug house or hideaway.

Murder/suicide stigma – when a person has died in the home as a result of a murder or a suicide, regardless of whether or not this fact is known to the public. 

Phenomena stigma – a property is renowned, locally or on a large scale, as being the site of a haunting, ghost sightings, etc.

Considering the examples above, a piece of real estate in Regina can experience significant loss in market value if it is associated with a stigma.

 

When Do Stigmas Have To Be Disclosed?

Technically, unless the buyer asks, the seller does not have to disclose a stigma to a buyer. Under Saskatchewan real estate legislation, a stigma associated with a property is not considered to be material to the transaction unless the stigma constitutes a material latent defect, or the buyer specifically indicates that certain activities in a premise would be unacceptable to him or her or the premise is being used for illegal activities.

The stigma can be any circumstance which renders the property unacceptable in the eyes of a particular buyer. It is impossible to know what activities or events constitute an unacceptable stigma in the mind of a buyer.

A seller is encouraged to seek legal advice about any potential stigma attached to the property to learn more about the necessity of the disclosure if any.

 A real estate agent is required to disclose any and all material latent defects within his/her knowledge but is not required to disclose his/her knowledge of a potential stigma attached to the listed property. However, if the property is owned by the real estate agent and they are aware of a stigma that could affect the value of the property, they are required to disclose it. 

Overall, 

  • Buyer beware
  • Seller beware
  • Stigmas can be certain unfavourable characteristics that may make the property less attractive to buyers.
  • Sellers do not have to disclose a stigma unless the buyer specifically asks. 

 

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Hopefully, this article has provided some insight into when and if stigmas need to be disclosed and what you can expect when buying. Real estate in Regina is a pretty safe city as far as stigmatized properties are concerned but in larger cities where there is a lot more organized crime and a higher population, the number of stigmatized properties will be higher.

If you have any further questions regarding stigmatized property, please feel free to give me a call at 306-552-7047 or use my online contact form below. I'm always happy to help!

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