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Home > Real Estate > Purchase and sale (undivided co-ownership) > What is a sale with legal warranty?

What is a sale with legal warranty?

Under the law, the vendor is bound by legal warranty to the purchaser. This warranty includes the warranty of right of ownership and the warranty of quality.

Warranty of right of ownership
The vendor must guarantee to the purchaser a "valid title of ownership." In other words, the vendor must guarantee the right of ownership of the property.

More specifically, this means that the vendor must guarantee that the property:

  • has no title defects and is free of all charges (mortgage, servitude, etc.), except those declared at the time of sale
  • does not encroach on the neighbouring property and vice versa
  • does not contravene public law restrictions (for example, the vendor guarantees that the building complies with zoning, urban planning and environmental regulations), with the exception of those registered with the registry office or those that have been declared, etc.

Warranty of quality
The vendor is also bound by the warranty of quality, that is, the warranty against hidden defects. The warranty of quality covers only major defects that existed at the time of the sale, that were unknown to the purchaser and that even a prudent and careful purchaser could not have discovered.

A defect is a flaw significant enough that it renders the property unusable for the purpose for which it was purchased. The defect so diminishes the value of the property that, if the purchaser had been aware of it, he or she would not have purchased it or would have negotiated a lower price.

Sale made without legal warranty
To the extent permitted by law, the parties can agree to expand or reduce the scope of a legal warranty. It is therefore possible to sell without legal warranty if the contract contains such a clause, but vendors can never avoid their personal liability.

In particular, professional vendors can never be relieved of their liability for defects that they were aware of or could not be unaware of and did not reveal. Be careful! This means that if a sale is made without warranty, and the vendor is not a real estate sales professional, the transaction is entirely at the purchaser's risk!

Notaries are well-equipped to handle these issues. With their knowledge and expertise, they can draft a clause that extends or limits liability to reflect the wishes of the parties while complying with the law.

To learn more about the warranty against hidden defects, see the Educaloi website at the following address: https://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/hidden-defects-buildings