Pot grow-ops damage homes and lives

Seniors who bought grow-op home lose in court
Keith Fraser, Postmedia News, July 30, 2010
A retired couple who discovered what they believed was evidence of a former marijuana grow-op in their new home -- then sued the former owners and their real-estate agents -- have had their case tossed out of court.

Pauline Stone and Joe Brown bought the rural property in Quesnel, about 600 kilometres north of Vancouver, in September 2006 for $239,000.

They then found what they say was evidence of a grow-op. They claimed their health was adversely affected by residual chemical pollution and excessive mould and moisture, and said they'd suffered mental and emotional distress.

The couple filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court alleging misrepresentation by the sellers and arguing the agents breached a duty of care.

The defendants -- former owner Serena Douglas and real-estate agents Christine Yaffe and Peter Yaffe -- applied to have the case dismissed under a summary-trial process rather than a full-blown trial.

When the property was listed, the sellers signed a property disclosure statement saying that they were unaware if there was a grow-op on the premises.

An offer, subject to a house inspection, was made by the couple.

A counter offer, containing the inspection clause but providing that the sellers could require the removal of the clause upon receipt of another offer, was made and accepted.

The couple waived the inspection clause and no inspection was done.

Then the couple discovered a grow-op in a barn on the property. They were told they did not have to complete the sale, according to the realtors, but decided to proceed on condition the grow-op was removed and the barn cleaned up.

Defects in the home soon surfaced and the couple had a home inspection done.

Stone said she was told by the inspector that there had been a grow-op in the master bedroom. But the inspector denied that there had been a grow-op.

The couple said they began to experience health problems, and in March 2010 the home was inspected by two members of the RCMP, one of them in the drug section.

The officer said he believed there had been a grow-op in both the barn and home.

In his reasons for judgment, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Willcock found that there was no duty of care on the part of the realtors to warn their clients of obvious risks.

He found it was not a very large claim and not complex and could be resolved in a summary manner, rather than a full trial.

The judge concluded there was no cause of action against either the sellers or agents, since the weight of the evidence suggests the sellers didn't know of a grow-op and the buyers only had circumstantial proof.

The couple and their lawyer could not be reached.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good reason to legalise it, and avoid having such clandestine operations.