Can You Spot the Problem (Hydro Pole)

Certainly it would seem very obvious that if the hydro pole is in the middle of the driveway, then the driveway would be rendered useless for vehicular traffic other than motorcycles.

However, if you are a real estate agent, then you need to be a problem solver. Why is it there? Is it going to be moved? When? And, at whose expense?

The Problem could be:

  1. It’s an old hydro pole, and a new house; the pole stays,
  2. It’s a new hydro pole, and a new house, hydro’s error; they will rectify at their expense,
  3. It’s a new pole, and a new house, but it’s placed exactly where it’s supposed to be; it won’t be moved.

So, depending upon the situation, Hydro needs to be contacted to determine whether they will move the pole. Assuming that Hydro is agreeable, the cost might easily be $10,000.00.

Now, the question is who is going to pay: 1) Hydro, 2) Seller, 3) Builder, or 4) Buyer.

When a situation like this arises, it’s often indicative of more problems than just the pole.

Assuming we have a new building, was it placed on the lot properly? Was it constructed according to plans? If it was not, then we have an issue as well with the Municipality.

Upon investigation, we might find that the builder constructed the building without paying for a new set of plans. There is a “left to right” configuration. That was project #1. Now, the builder is building the same house on another lot. This time it’s “right to left”. The builder tells everybody, but the only set of actual plans they have in their possession is the first one, which shows “left to right”. The builder saved $3,000.00 in fees. All the trades must construct the mirror image. But, someone makes a mistake.

Now we have a “left to right” building on the second lot when it was the “right to left” proposal which was approved. The setbacks are incorrect. Close, only out by a few inches, but still out. That means that the building is non-compliant. It’s a solvable problem. The Committee of Adjustment will deal with the issue and consent to the new setbacks without any real opposition because they are so close. The difficulty here, is the 90 day delay, and the 30 day appeal period following a decision. Naturally, this assumes, that there is no opposition. This Committee of Adjustment application will cost another $5,000.00. So, this could easily be solved with a cheque for $15,000.00. But, who is going to write it?

The usual standard form Agreement of Purchase and Sale will not deal with these issues. Remember that the hydro pole is on adjacent municipal property. And, nothing in the standard form addresses adjacent properties.

Both the Listing Agent and the Buyer’s Agent need to identify the issue, it’s a material fact, and it might easily lead to another potential issue namely setbacks upon investigation. Naturally, that investigation needs to take place ahead of time.

If the matter is left unaddressed, then we know who is going to pay: the Agents!

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

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