Get the Docs!
When you are preparing to submit an offer on a property or have an accepted offer, you will receive a package of documents giving you detailed information about the property. One of the most important documents is the Property Condition Disclosure Statement.
What is it?
The Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS) is a disclosure of what a Seller knows about their property. There are several versions of the document (see below) which has a series of questions for Sellers to give a potential Buyer a guideline of what the Seller knows about the condition of the property.
The Strata condo version asks condo specific questions such as parking stall numbers, locker numbers or whether the building has had water leaks, insect infestations, structural issues, etc
The Residential version for single family houses asks many of the same questions, but asks questions more relevant to this type of housing.
Why do Buyers need a copy of the PCDS?
The PCDS was brought into use in BC to allow Sellers to disclose defects they may be aware of with their properties. Buyers need as much information as possible about a property they are interest in buying so they can make an informed decision. A PCDS can be incorporated in and form part of the Contract of Purchase of Sale, which may (confirm this with your lawyer) provide a Buyer legal protections if a Seller does not disclose all known issues.
Is a Seller Required to provide a PCDS in BC?
A Seller is not required to provide a PCDS in British Columbia. If a Seller is not willing to provide a PCDS, they may not be disclosing a major issue with the property. The fact a Seller is not willing to provide a PCDS to a potential Buyer should be cause for concern to the Buyer. Proceed with caution!
Of less concern, very often Sellers of tenanted properties may provide a PCDS, but will scratch out all the questions on the document. Sellers will do this because they have never lived in the property or have not lived in it for a considerable amount of time and therefore do not know enough about the condition of the property to comment.
Don’t Rely On the PCDS
When buying a property, information in the PCDS should not be relied as all the necessary information a Buyer needs about a property. Furthermore it should not be seen as means to avoid the cost of getting a home inspection by a qualified Home Inspector. ALWAYS get a home inspection! Sellers very often have limited knowledge on the condition of their property and cannot be relied upon to give complete or accurate information. The PCDS should be a guide to further investigations on the property and your Realtor, Home Inspector, and lawyer should be able to answer any questions that arise. The PCDS should form part of a package of documents a buyer receives to allow the buyer to make an informed decision on buying the property in question.
I welcome questions and comments on this blog!