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Canadian Real Estate/Was not informed of building restrictions when purchasing land


We purchased a 21 acre property with the full intention of building a home on it in the future. Our plans changed and we decided to sell the property. The property was listed with an agent an we received an offer immediatley which we decided to accept. We were then told that there was a buidling restriction on the property which stated that a home could not be built on the property any closer than 300 yards from the road. Needless to say the deal fell through as they potential buyers did not want to build that far back. My question is (and nobody seems to know the answer), why were we not told about this when we purchased the property? We are now looking into possibly having the restrictions changed and are looking at spending lots of money to do this. We feel that someone dropped the ball here and we are left with a property with limited selling value.

Hi Mannon,

I assume this is up north somewhere and the local setback by-law is 300 yards/meters whatever.   Unfortunately this is a bit of a grey area and a 'buyer beware/due diligence issue'.
You may have a case if you mentioned to the sellers/agent that you wanted to build a house close to the road and they told you that it was permitted.  You would have to prove that though and also prove that they knew about the setback bylaw.  If my clients wanted to do what you were doing I would probably include a conditional clause that I would need to check with the local municipality first to confirm about my building plans.  

You should talk to your lawyer about this, but hopefully you will be able to apply for a variation of the by-law and go right to the OMB to get it.  You should look around the area and see if there are other homes closer to the road.  That would give you a lot more ammunition when you go to the committee of adjustment.  I am sorry you are in this position, it is just one of those things that often gets overlooked and leads to much client stress.

Just one other thing.  If the restriction is not a by-law issue because I see in your mail to me that you call it a 'building restriction'.  If it is a 'restrictive covenant' on the property/deed then you would probably be totally out of luck to remove it but I think you would have a case if it was missed by the lawyers somehow and if you have title insurance or if it was not on the listing.

Good Luck, I know it can be frustrating.

Best Regards


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David Sussman


Residential Real Estate Questions in Ontario such as financing possibilities, clauses, how to choose the right agent, buying/selling your home/condo and anything else that relates to real estate trading such as what my home is worth or tips and hints for how to protect yourself as a buyer or seller.


Residential Real Estate Agent in the City of Toronto for Royal LePage, Signature Realty.

Toronto Real Estate Board Canadian Real Estate Association Royal LePage Signature Realty

Carleton University, B.A. and Business Management from U of T

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