No damages caused by listing agent’s failure to propose legal information

Quick HITS

  • In Stanley v. Grech, a authentic estate agent’s alleged skilled carelessness was examined. The plaintiff acquired a strata large amount in Vancouver with the intention of redeveloping it.
  • The agent failed to propose legal assistance, major to disputes in excess of house restrictions. The demo judge discovered the agent negligent but ruled that the carelessness did not induce hurt.
  • On charm, the court docket upheld the decision, emphasizing the require to create causation in skilled carelessness statements.


In some situations, true estate brokers should advocate that their shoppers get legal guidance about a proposed transaction. Predicaments may occur when the agent appreciates that a shopper has foreseeable future progress options for a residence or other concerns that require authorized restrictions. Whether or not the failure to advocate authorized guidance success in liability will normally turn on evidence that the plaintiff could have pursued an substitute class of action that would have avoided the damages claimed.

In Stanley v. Grech, the Court of Enchantment for British Columbia upheld the dismissal of an action for experienced negligence in opposition to the plaintiff’s actual estate agent.


Track record

The assets in issue was just one of two plenty on a residential “strata” house in the Southlands space of Vancouver, in a neighbourhood made up of massive homes which had luxurious houses as effectively as equestrian facilities.

The first home was about 3.15 acres. In the mid-2000s, it was converted into two strata tons under the Strata Property Act. The two plenty shared “limited prevalent property” that was specified for the special use of the strata lot house owners as tenants in common. Constrained typical home cannot be created or altered with no amending the strata plan, which requires the unanimous consent of all strata large amount homeowners.

In February 2017, the plaintiff procured one of the tons from his late friend’s estate, pursuant to an choice to order granted to him under her will. Beneath the strata system, the great deal comprised only the footprint of a 2000-square-foot home alongside with the limited prevalent property. The order cost was $4.5 million, which represented 50 per cent of the appraised benefit.

The plaintiff meant to obtain the ton and re-promote it for advancement reasons, envisaging the likely design of a 7,000-square-foot dwelling. He fulfilled the defendant’s serious estate agent at an open up dwelling, who then assisted him in arranging private financing to comprehensive the order. The agent was not if not retained to act for the plaintiff for the duration of the acquire.

In December 2016, before the plaintiff completed the order of the ton, the agent sent him a draft listing settlement for the sale of the whole lot with a listing value of $13.888 million. The plaintiff subsequently bought the ton in February 2017 and mentioned the residence for sale with the defendant as the listing agent.

It turned out, nevertheless, that both equally the plaintiff and the agent operated less than misapprehensions as to the character of the strata great deal. The plaintiff considered that he experienced distinctive use of both the part of the good deal with the dwelling and the associated confined typical home and that the full home could be redeveloped devoid of the consent of the proprietor of the 2nd strata ton. Even so, it could not be redeveloped without having the consent of the owner of the other strata great deal.

The agent had labored largely in North and West Vancouver and had not beforehand offered a residence in the Southlands. In January 2017, ahead of the invest in was done, he spoke to the listing agent for a property located throughout the road, which was a very similar strata home. He was encouraged that the assets experienced been on the industry for some time since the operator necessary the acceptance of the neighbouring strata operator to make any alterations.

In excess of the system of 2017 and 2018, the house was shown for sale at $13.88 million. Ultimately, having said that, the great deal was bought for $7.5 million in April 2018. The organization that received title to the assets was controlled by the owner of the other strata great deal. By that time, the defendant agent was no lengthier included.


Real estate agent sued for negligence


The plaintiff sued the agent for negligence, alleging that he breached his duties by:

  1. Failing to realize the character of strata ton and the limitations related with it
  2. Recommending a listing cost for the lot that was as well substantial centered on his failure to have an understanding of the legitimate character of the restrictions on the strata ton and
  3. Failing to suggest or receive lawful information.

The trial judge concluded that when the agent discovered that there had been limits on the redevelopment of the good deal, he elevated the issue, but the plaintiff preserved that the situation with his good deal was unique and that he did not need to have the authorization of the other proprietor to build. The plaintiff maintained that this info was improper. The agent did not recommend that the plaintiff receive authorized information. On the other hand, the plaintiff disregarded the agent’s information and facts and did not seek out legal tips due to the fact it did not accord with his possess independently fashioned viewpoint of his legal rights.

In the trial judge’s view, the plaintiff unsuccessful to establish that the agent’s failure to realize and suggest on the character of the strata good deal breached the regular of care. In the same way, the plaintiff did not set up that the agent breached the standard of care with respect to placing the listing cost.

The agent’s breach of the regular of treatment

Conversely, the trial judge uncovered that it was a breach of the normal of care for the agent to have failed to possibly advise that the plaintiff seek out legal advice, in spite of his individual impression, or to search for that lawful suggestions himself, provided the probable concerns with developing the ton. It ought to have been clear to the agent that legal guidance was demanded about the authorized impediments to the enhancement of the strata lot in advance of any representations could be built to likely purchasers.

Even so, the demo decide concluded that the plaintiff failed to prove that the agent’s breach of the conventional of care caused any harm given that there was no evidence that he could have been in a improved place had he gained legal assistance during the listing system. The claim was, hence, dismissed.

On attraction, the plaintiff argued that the trial decide had unsuccessful to utilize the appropriate method to causation and had failed to consider no matter if there was a real and considerable likelihood that he had endured a decline as a consequence of the agent’s carelessness.


The attraction


The enchantment turned on the authorized concept of causation, which involves two distinctive inquiries. To start with, a plaintiff ought to confirm that the defendant’s breach was the factual bring about of the decline. This is generally based mostly upon a “but for” examination, which necessitates a plaintiff to establish on a balance of chances that the damage would not have happened but for the defendant’s negligent act.

2nd, a plaintiff ought to also set up that the defendant’s breach was the legal trigger of the loss, which involves proving that the hurt was not as well distant and was the “reasonably foreseeable result” of the negligent carry out.

The Court of Attraction agreed with the trial choose that the plaintiff unsuccessful to set up that the agent breached the regular of treatment by failing to understand the issues with the strata large amount. The plaintiff experienced not submitted any pro evidence about the applicable conventional of treatment. Specialist evidence is usually expected to establish the standard of care in professional negligence statements until the mistake is egregious and will involve a non-technological situation this kind of that an standard human being may possibly be anticipated to have enough awareness.

“While the failure to advise lawful information was a breach of the normal of treatment, the plaintiff unsuccessful to show that any damages have been induced as a end result.”

Equally, placing the listing value is not a non-complex make a difference or something within just the expertise of standard people today, significantly given the exclusive difficulties associated with a strata great deal. The plaintiff unsuccessful to establish that the agent breached the standard of treatment in that regard.

Whilst the failure to endorse legal assistance was a breach of the standard of care, the plaintiff unsuccessful to show that any damages ended up brought about as a result. The Court of Charm noted that the plaintiff relied largely on the alleged incorrect listing price of the lot as the resource of his damages.

Having said that, the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that he would have been in a much better economic situation experienced he sought lawful advice previously (if these a program of action experienced been advised by the agent), and the restrictions with the strata good deal discovered. There was no proof that a sale would have been completed earlier for a bigger selling price. The plaintiff’s arguments about what else could possibly have happened have been speculative.

The situation displays the value of developing causation in expert carelessness claims. Noticeably, the plaintiff was presently the valuable operator of the large amount by the time he detailed the residence for sale with the defendant. There was no recommendation innovative at demo that the agent really should have advised the plaintiff on the order of the lot or that the plaintiff would not have bought the whole lot but for any guidance gained (or not been given) from him.