In Bouskill v. Campea (1976) the Ontario Court of Appeal noted the testimony of an Expert Witness
As noted in the decision:
“An expert witness testified at the trial that the deficiency would be significant to a purchaser contemplating subdivision.”
In this case the depth was deficient by about 11 feet. It was 160 feet, 11 and ¾ inches off what was in the contract, namely 172 feet. This amounted to 6.4%.
At issue was the general term: “more or less”.
This decision was made by the Court:
Counting dollars, not counting feet and inches
So, while the deficiency in fact amounted to 6.4%, it certainly doesn’t mean that we are good with something much less than that.
In this case, 6.4% was relevant, it affected value. It was an important consideration. But, remember 3 inches might be too!
Consider a situation where the Seller believes the property is 60 feet wide. He sells the property to someone with the “more or less” reference included.
The municipal by-law make provision for the minimum lot size to be 30 feet. Can the Buyer withdraw if it turns out that the total frontage actually measures out to be 59 feet, 9 inches? That’s only 3 inches short of two lots.
The Buyer would potentially have 2 lots, each 30 feet wide, now we are left with one fairly wide lot which is 59 feet, 9 inches.
Based upon the Bouskill v. Campea case, I would expect “more or less” to be interpreted consistent with value, not inches. Although we are only looking at 3 inches in total, the whole value of that second lot is gone.
This means that each individual case would have to be determined upon its own merits.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker