“I just bought a house, and the seller has left a mess!”
A clause in the agreement that requires the Seller to leave the house in a broom swept condition means This is the most common complaint we hear. A buyer, having just completed one of the most important purchases of their life, picks up the key from our office, is super excited, and goes to the house only to find dirt everywhere, holes in the walls, or broken appliances!
What can they do?
To see if the purchaser has any rights in this circumstance, we have to look to the Agreement of purchase and sale.
Broom Swept Condition
A clause in the agreement that requires the Seller to leave the house in a broom swept condition means that the Seller will now have to pay for the cleanup of all the dirt in the house.
If this clause is there, we can write to the Seller’s lawyer and ask the Seller to send in a cleanup crew immediately. However, this may mean that the Purchaser has to wait for some time (typically a day or two) for the Seller’s cleaners to arrive and take care of the mess. Alternatively, the Purchaser can hire their own cleanup crew, and send the invoice to the Seller for reimbursement.
The delays caused by the cleanup become the responsibility of the Seller.
While the responsibility is with the Seller, it is often difficult for the Purchaser to get compensation for the delays and the cleanup costs. At Prudent Law, we can use our litigation experience to assist our clients with recovery of these costs and to resolve this issue in a friendly and co-operative manner.
Holes in the walls are generally considered Patent Defects: defects that could have been discovered through an inspection of the property. As such, if you get an inspection done, it is important to list all such minor issues as the Seller’s responsibility when waiving the inspection condition.
If the Agreement makes such repairs the responsibility of the Seller, we can pursue the Seller for the costs associated with the repairs.
Most Agreements of Purchase and Sale provide for all appliances in the property to be in “good working order” at the time of closing. This means minor scratches and dents are permitted, but the appliances should be working and fulfilling their purpose.
If your Agreement does not have such a clause, your rights and options are much more limited. You will likely have to accept the appliances in the state that they are in.
It is important for Purchasers to understand what their agreement allows for and to set their expectations accordingly.
At Prudent Law, we can assist with such issues and help our clients understand their rights and obligations under their Agreement.
For more information, please contact Prudent Law at (905) 361-9789
A Cautionary Note
The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.