Buyer Beware: What happened before on that property you’re thinking about buying?

Buyer Beware: What happened before on that property you’re thinking about buying?

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Today’s Edmonton Journal features an article about Alberta Environment ordering Leduc County to clean up a former landfill and a lawsuit brought against the county by residents of the property. This is an unfortunate situation for all parties and one worth avoiding if you can.

In real estate transactions the onus is generally on the buyer to do their due diligence and the general rule for buying and selling real estate is “buyer beware.” Environmental information often doesn’t appear on land title, so it’s up to the buyer to find this information elsewhere. Unfortunately there’s no checklist to prove due diligence and no one-stop shop for environmental information.

The best way to demonstrate due diligence is to identify environmental concerns, learn what information is available about those concerns and act on that knowledge. Buyers who make inquiries into the environmental conditions of the specific site and the local area are in the best position to make sound choices and solid deals.

What Lies Beneath? Access to Environmental Information in Alberta, a recent ELC publication, provides practical information-finding tips, outlines environmental concerns you may want to think about and describes where to get started to find the information you need to make the best choices when buying property in Alberta. A twelve-page booklet based on this guidebook, Buyer Beware, is also available on our website.

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