What Lies Beneath? Buyer beware.
January 21, 2015: Say Lynnview Ridge or Calmar and most Albertans will know what you’re talking about. You’re talking about every homeowner’s nightmare: buy a home, move in, then find out the property is contaminated.
“These nightmares happen because of gaps between what Albertans should know, could know and actually do know about their environment,” says Adam Driedzic, Staff Counsel at the Environmental Law Centre.
“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,’” says Driedzic. “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.
Buyer Beware: Where and how to find environmental information about a property in Alberta [link] will help you start down that path. It outlines some of the environmental concerns you may want to think about and where to get started to find information. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.
For much more comprehensive information about where and how to look for environmental information when you’re buying a property in Alberta download What Lies Beneath? Access to Environmental Information in Alberta.
The Environmental Law Centre is Alberta’s leading environmental public policy and law reform charity. The full publication and booklet can be downloaded on the Environmental Law Centre website.