No damages caused by listing agent’s failure to endorse authorized suggestions

Brief HITS

  • In Stanley v. Grech, a real estate agent’s alleged experienced negligence was examined. The plaintiff obtained a strata great deal in Vancouver with the intention of redeveloping it.
  • The agent unsuccessful to recommend lawful information, foremost to disputes more than house limitations. The demo decide identified the agent negligent but ruled that the carelessness did not induce damage.
  • On attraction, the court docket upheld the final decision, emphasizing the need to have to build causation in specialist negligence claims.


In some instances, authentic estate agents really should recommend that their shoppers obtain lawful information about a proposed transaction. Cases could arise when the agent is aware of that a consumer has foreseeable future development ideas for a house or other concerns that contain authorized limitations. Whether or not the failure to advise legal advice results in legal responsibility will frequently convert on proof that the plaintiff could have pursued an alternative training course of motion that would have prevented the damages claimed.

In Stanley v. Grech, the Court docket of Attractiveness for British Columbia upheld the dismissal of an action for expert carelessness towards the plaintiff’s authentic estate agent.



The home in concern was just one of two heaps on a household “strata” property in the Southlands location of Vancouver, in a neighbourhood made up of significant houses which experienced luxurious properties as properly as equestrian amenities.

The original home was about 3.15 acres. In the mid-2000s, it was converted into two strata lots underneath the Strata Assets Act. The two tons shared “limited common property” that was specified for the unique use of the strata great deal homeowners as tenants in prevalent. Constrained popular house are not able to be created or altered without having amending the strata approach, which requires the unanimous consent of all strata whole lot proprietors.

In February 2017, the plaintiff obtained just one of the loads from his late friend’s estate, pursuant to an possibility to invest in granted to him less than her will. Underneath the strata strategy, the good deal comprised only the footprint of a 2000-square-foot property alongside with the confined prevalent assets. The order selling price was $4.5 million, which represented 50 for each cent of the appraised value.

The plaintiff supposed to order the great deal and re-market it for enhancement reasons, envisaging the prospective design of a 7,000-sq.-foot dwelling. He fulfilled the defendant’s true estate agent at an open up house, who then assisted him in arranging personal funding to complete the invest in. The agent was not or else retained to act for the plaintiff during the order.

In December 2016, ahead of the plaintiff accomplished the buy of the ton, the agent sent him a draft listing agreement for the sale of the large amount with a listing rate of $13.888 million. The plaintiff subsequently procured the good deal in February 2017 and listed the home for sale with the defendant as the listing agent.

It turned out, nonetheless, that both the plaintiff and the agent operated less than misapprehensions as to the character of the strata whole lot. The plaintiff thought that he had exceptional use of each the part of the ton with the dwelling and the linked restricted typical home and that the overall house could be redeveloped without having the consent of the operator of the next strata lot. Nonetheless, it could not be redeveloped without having the consent of the operator of the other strata ton.

The agent had labored primarily in North and West Vancouver and experienced not formerly offered a residence in the Southlands. In January 2017, prior to the invest in was done, he spoke to the listing agent for a residence positioned across the road, which was a identical strata assets. He was recommended that the home experienced been on the current market for some time simply because the owner wanted the approval of the neighbouring strata proprietor to make any alterations.

More than the course of 2017 and 2018, the home was shown for sale at $13.88 million. Finally, even so, the large amount was marketed for $7.5 million in April 2018. The firm that attained title to the home was controlled by the operator of the other strata ton. By that time, the defendant agent was no lengthier involved.


Real estate agent sued for negligence


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

  1. Failing to identify the nature of strata whole lot and the limits connected with it
  2. Recommending a listing value for the great deal that was way too large primarily based on his failure to recognize the correct mother nature of the restrictions on the strata large amount and
  3. Failing to suggest or attain authorized advice.

The demo choose concluded that when the agent learned that there had been limits on the redevelopment of the lot, he raised the issue, but the plaintiff maintained that the predicament with his whole lot was various and that he did not will need the authorization of the other operator to create. The plaintiff taken care of that this data was wrong. The agent did not advocate that the plaintiff get hold of authorized assistance. Having said that, the plaintiff dismissed the agent’s information and did not seek legal assistance because it did not accord with his have independently formed viewpoint of his legal rights.

In the demo judge’s perspective, the plaintiff failed to prove that the agent’s failure to fully grasp and suggest on the character of the strata ton breached the standard of care. Similarly, the plaintiff did not set up that the agent breached the typical of treatment with regard to environment the listing selling price.

The agent’s breach of the standard of treatment

Conversely, the demo judge identified that it was a breach of the standard of treatment for the agent to have unsuccessful to possibly suggest that the plaintiff look for lawful advice, in spite of his personalized view, or to seek that lawful advice himself, supplied the possible troubles with building the great deal. It should to have been apparent to the agent that authorized suggestions was expected regarding the legal impediments to the development of the strata lot just before any representations could be produced to potential purchasers.

Nonetheless, the demo decide concluded that the plaintiff unsuccessful to verify that the agent’s breach of the regular of care brought on any injury given that there was no proof that he could have been in a much better place had he been given authorized guidance through the listing procedure. The claim was, as a result, dismissed.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial decide had unsuccessful to implement the proper technique to causation and had failed to contemplate whether there was a genuine and significant possibility that he had endured a decline as a result of the agent’s carelessness.


The attractiveness


The attractiveness turned on the authorized idea of causation, which involves two distinct inquiries. First, a plaintiff should prove that the defendant’s breach was the factual result in of the decline. This is normally dependent upon a “but for” take a look at, which demands a plaintiff to build on a equilibrium of probabilities that the harm would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligent act.

2nd, a plaintiff have to also set up that the defendant’s breach was the lawful induce of the loss, which requires proving that the damage was not as well distant and was the “reasonably foreseeable result” of the negligent conduct.

The Courtroom of Attractiveness agreed with the trial judge that the plaintiff unsuccessful to create that the agent breached the standard of care by failing to realize the concerns with the strata lot. The plaintiff experienced not submitted any professional evidence about the relevant standard of care. Qualified evidence is generally expected to create the conventional of care in experienced carelessness promises except if the error is egregious and will involve a non-specialized difficulty this kind of that an ordinary individual may perhaps be predicted to have ample information.

“While the failure to suggest legal information was a breach of the standard of care, the plaintiff failed to exhibit that any damages were brought about as a end result.”

Equally, environment the listing price tag is not a non-technical issue or one thing inside the information of ordinary people today, specifically offered the unique challenges concerned with a strata lot. The plaintiff unsuccessful to set up that the agent breached the conventional of care in that regard.

Even though the failure to propose legal suggestions was a breach of the typical of treatment, the plaintiff failed to display that any damages ended up induced as a outcome. The Court of Attraction famous that the plaintiff relied primarily on the alleged inappropriate listing rate of the ton as the source of his damages.

Having said that, the plaintiff unsuccessful to confirm that he would have been in a much better financial placement had he sought lawful suggestions previously (if these types of a system of motion had been advised by the agent), and the limits with the strata lot recognized. There was no proof that a sale would have been concluded previously for a larger selling price. The plaintiff’s arguments about what else may possibly have transpired were speculative.

The case reveals the importance of creating causation in qualified carelessness promises. Drastically, the plaintiff was by now the beneficial proprietor of the large amount by the time he shown the home for sale with the defendant. There was no recommendation advanced at trial that the agent need to have encouraged the plaintiff on the buy of the ton or that the plaintiff would not have bought the whole lot but for any advice acquired (or not been given) from him.

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