Biblitz delivers advise

ASK Biblitz about Housing.

Post-warranty construction defects, damage caused by a neighbor's tree, realtor's obligations and MORE!

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How should I seek compensation for a driveway destroyed by neighboor's tree root?

Hey Leo,

How can I solve this problem when I have already let him know of the issue years ago and nothing has been made. I live in East Texas. What type of attorney do I need for this case? By the way, the driveway has craks and holes and parts of the cement poping out. Damaged by a really big pine tree right next to the driveway.

Biblitz replies:
You submit a claim to neighbor's insurance company!

Can I sue my realtor for buying my dream home?

Can I sue my realtor for buying my dream home? I have been working with a realtor for 6 months and I have been expressing interest to her in a place that has not been listed on the market. She kept saying that she would try to contact the owner to see if he wanted to sell. During that time, she showed me about a dozen other homes, but I never ended up buying any of them. Well just last week she emailed me and said that she bought the home that I wanted and she said that because it was listed in the newspaper as going up for bank repo it was anyones fair game at that point. She said the owner called her and wanted to sell to her. I am in Canada.... Can I sue her for some money?

Biblitz replies:

Yes you can! Contact the real estate council in your jurisdiction for legal provisions pertaining to a licensee's duties and obligations toward client. They've upped the ante the last few years to deal precisely with this type of problem!

... I'm so moved by the very idea of suing a shark-like realtor in predatory Canada, esp in B.C. 'BILLY country, that I shall in short order drink a toast to your luck and good health!

Oh, thank-you, thank-you for sharing this! You have made an old man very happy! Please let me know if you need any more help or cheerleading.

Your servant,
Leo Biblitz
Vanquishing eels in the real estate industry, which has enjoyed preferential treatment to the peril of consumers in Banana Canada far too long!

Can we sue our home builder?

The siding on our 18 month old house keeps blowing off during high winds. Our new home warranty with the builder expired 6 months ago, we purchased an extended STRUCTURAL warranty but obviously that excludes things like siding. We have found out upon inspection that the siding was incorrectly installed by the builder. Should we pursue getting them to pay for the repairs?

Biblitz replies:

There are no hillbillies like B.C. Billy builders, huh?

Yes! Negligent work is legally actionable regardless of warranty expiration w/i the usual limitation period - 2 yrs, usually. You'll need to send a letter (prepared by atty for oomph, if you like) demanding either repair to the correct standard or an agmt to undertake payment for a contract you obtain with another firm in lieu thereof.

Add bcc to federal authority if the work was subsidized post-economic meltdown (see Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) Only available for the 2009 tax year) as well as provincial and federal political reps. It's good for them to know how the heavily-subsidized home construction industry is really doing.

Biblitz shares the rather waggish Porky Pig view of the contractor in question!
You may also at the same time complain to the local Better Business Bureau to engage their advocacy. AND if blders give you any trouble, there are legions of Web sites in addition to corporate media that would be anxious to post a link to your blog about your experience, naming the company, of course, the error and any trouble they give you regarding the repair. No defamation here; you'd simply argue the truth of your own narrative. No company wants the nightmare. Believe, too, that you're not the first people they've stiffed in this way!

Any public housing benefits to which I might be entitled?

Basically i am 18 and want to move from home to rent a house with my boyfriend. I go to college 2 days a week and spend 3 days doing a work placement at a local salon, where i get paid 45. He is an apprentice who receives roughly 200 a week. Are there any benefits i am entitled to to help me with housing until i am finished my training?

I cant get a job because i have to spend 3 days in my workplacement. My Mother is moving in with her new boyfriend who has 2 kids and they are getting a 3 bedroomed house. Can i not get help with anything? Housing benefit or anything? I will be finished training in 1 year and be on full wage and able to pay for my own rent etc. I would move in with my boyfriend but there is hardly anyspace in his house. His Gran has a house we could rent so it wouldnt be as expensive but still costy because of the wage i am on. Does this make any difference or are ppl just going to say get a job?

Biblitz replies:
I should certainly hope not! Lots of folks would LIKE to live in a certain style but must face, alas, the cold, hard reality of affordability and, ugh!, compromise. Students famously live in rough digs. Builds character! Cut the fingers out of a pair of gloves and write a few self-indulgent poems. Live on warm beer and sickly milk tea. Good for the soul.

The Costco Connection

Canadian Moneysaver

Ask the Experts

July/August, 2008

What happens when our tree lands on our neighbors' house/car/fence?

When your tree falls on your neighbors' house and causes damage, your neighbors should submit a claim to their insurance company. Regardless of who owns the tree, your neighbors' insurance company is on the hook for removing the tree and repairing the home. However, your neighbors' insurance company will inquire if the tree was diseased or looked as though it was about to fall and if you, the owner of the tree, were aware that there was an increased risk. If so, your neighbors' insurance company will approach you and want you to pay them back for the damage.

At this point, you would call your insurance company and open up a liability claim. If the tree turned out to be diseased but you had no way of knowing this, you would not be found negligent (i.e., you knew there was a problem but did nothing about it), then your insurance company would pay your neighbors' insurance company back for the expenses they incurred as part of liability coverage.

Note that your neighbors will have paid their homeowner deductible as part of their claim. If your neighbors' insurance company succeeds in getting reimbursed by your insurance company, your neighbors will have their deductible reimbursed to them. This process can take up to a year or even longer from the time your neighbors pay the deductible to the time they are reimbursed. Usually liability claims do not have a deductible. So, even if your insurance company pays the liability claim, you would not likely pay anything.

Having said that, there is a substantial hassle factor involved for both you and your neighbors throughout the process. If you are found to be negligent, you will have a liability claim on your claim record, possibly (Note: We'd say here probably) increasing your premiums in the future. So, if you have a tree that may present an increased risk to your home or someone else's, you would be wise to take action in advance of any problems and pay to have the tree trimmed back or removed.

Margo Bai, author of Spend Smarter, Save Bigger
Markham, Ont. (-- p. 9)


A Canadian realtor/real estate licensee's duty and obligations:

A few of B.C.'s disgraced realtors - what they did and - OUCH! - what it cost them.

Misconduct by licensee

35 (1) A licensee commits professional misconduct if the licensee does one or more of the following:

(a) contravenes this Act, the regulations or the rules;
(b) breaches a restriction or condition of their licence;
(c) does anything that constitutes wrongful taking or deceptive dealing;
(d) demonstrates incompetence in performing any activity for which a licence is required;
(e) fails or refuses to cooperate with an investigation under section 37 [investigation by council] or 48 [investigations by superintendent];
(f) fails to comply with an order of the real estate council, a discipline committee or the superintendent;
(g) makes or allows to be made any false or misleading statement in a document that is required or authorized to be produced or submitted under this Act.

(2) A licensee commits conduct unbecoming a licensee if the licensee engages in conduct that, in the judgment of a discipline committee,

(a) is contrary to the best interests of the public,
(b) undermines public confidence in the real estate industry, or
(c) brings the real estate industry into disrepute.

(3) A brokerage that is a partnership or corporation may be found to have committed professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a licensee if a partner, officer, director or controlling shareholder of the brokerage does one or more of the things referred to in subsection (1) or (2).

Complaints against licensee

36 (1) A person may make a complaint to the real estate council if the person believes that a licensee may have committed professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a licensee.

(2) A complaint must be in writing and must include particulars.

(3) Unless a complaint is made anonymously, the real estate council must

(a) acknowledge receipt of the complaint, and
(b) on disposition of the matter, inform the complainant of the disposition.


37 (1) On its own initiative or on receipt of a complaint, the real estate council may conduct an investigation to determine whether a licensee may have committed professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a licensee.

(2) An investigation may be carried out by

(a) one or more council members,
(b) an officer or employee of the real estate council, or
(c) a person retained by the real estate council for this purpose. ... (From the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's Consumer Information link, accessed online Dec. 2/09)