LETTER: Real Estate Council’s definition of latent defect should apply if Sunshine Village rezoned

Reader Gary Swartz responds to another reader's letter regarding the proposed rezoning of Sunshine Village.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter is in response to Richard Hobbs’ letter “Answering questions about Sunshine Village mega-homes” in the Jan. 26 edition of the North Delta Reporter.

For more information on the proposed rezoning, see “Residents concerned over plan to rezone Sunshine Village” in our Jan. 5 issue.)

Perhaps, Mr. Hobbs, you should have spoken with a knowledgeable realtor or done a search of “Latent Defect B.C.,” as I did, before writing your letter. You would have arrived at the Real Estate Council of B.C. website and a definition that includes:

(b) a defect that would involve great expense to remedy;

(c) a circumstance that affects the real estate in respect of which a local government or other local authority has given a notice to the client or the licensee, indicating that the circumstance must or should be remedied;

(d) a lack of appropriate municipal building and other permits respecting the real estate.

I read this as indicating that should the Sunshine Village zoning code be changed so that a home is no longer in compliance, the municipality must or should inform the owner of the offending home that (d), if not (d) and (c), now apply, and that (b) will also apply should the owner request a variance, or variances.

More simply stated, I believe the municipality needs to inform home owners in Sunshine Village that should the proposal be approved it will be virtually impossible to replace the majority of existing homes with an identical home occupying the same footprint, whether because of fire, an earthquake or because the existing home has grown too old to be any longer serviceable.

They should also make clear whether or not a non-complying home would encounter severe limitations if a renovation of the home were to become an issue

(Frankly, I believe they should do what Richmond did and grandfather non-complying homes to grant homeowners the right to build an identical footprint replacement. Why do we deserve any less from our elected officials?)

In any case, this all sounds to me like we are facing a “material latent defect”, although, again, you might want to discuss this with a good realtor and/or the planning department who should be better informed than either you or I.

I look forward to your response,

Gary Swartz