Ontario couple who bought home in winter finds garbage dump in backyard after snow melts
TORONTO -- When newlyweds Leanne Lebel and Kyle Ellis were looking to buy a home last fall after years of renting, they were frustrated after bidding on 20 homes and losing out to other buyers.
They were advised by their real estate agent to waive a home inspection as a condition of sale and were able to buy a house in Ennismore, which is northeast of Peterborough in February 2021.
Lebel said when they moved in, they had to get a new furnace right away and spend $7,000 they weren’t planning to.
"We had to buy a new furnace because there were dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the home and we are planning to have a baby so we had to replace it," Lebel said.
The couple bought the house when there was still snow on the ground and were shocked in the spring when the snow melted to reveal what appeared to be the remains of a garbage dump in their backyard.
"We found the garbage went down three to four feet down into the ground. There were bricks, mortar, cement and shingles and metal and household items like doorknobs," Lebel said.
Lebel said she’s aware a home inspection may not have found the garbage problem during the winter, but she is shocked it was not disclosed prior to the sale.
The couple has had several quotes by excavation companies to remove the debris. They have been told they must spend around $98,000, and it must be done to protect their drinking water.
"To find garbage going three to four feet down in your yard, that's a big problem that should have been disclosed and reflected in the price," Lebel said. “It's going to cost us $100,000 to clean up the soil."
In the red hot real estate market, with multiple offers and bidding wars, many buyers have dropped a home inspection as a condition of sale.
Lisa Song and her family moved from Brampton to a rural property in Halton Hills and also waived having a home inspection done.
Song said after they moved in they found it had water and septic problems that could cost them $130,000 dollars to repair.
"It's taken a toll on me and my family because we have to move out of our property because it was supposed to be our dream home and right now it's a disaster, a nightmare," Song said.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario recommends on it's website that buyers not waive conditions of sale.
"At the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), we recognize that buying a property is a serious commitment – especially in today’s competitive market,” Joseph Richer, Registrar with the Real Estate Council of Ontario, told CTV News Toronto. "Since sellers’ obligations to disclose information can vary based on the details of the problem, we suggest that both sellers and buyers seek the advice of their real estate lawyers to know what is required to be disclosed to make informed decisions."
A home inspector can't find every problem but can advise the general condition of a home's major components. Rural home inspections will cost more if there is a well and septic system and inspections can range in cost from $500 to $1,000.
Lebel feels inspections should not be allowed to be waived and said obvious trouble spots should be disclosed to a buyer.
"I think the government needs to step in here and make it mandatory so that the seller's can't evade problems like this,” Lebel said.
Some buyers who waive a home inspection prior to buying a house are getting it done after the sale has closed. But if a seller is demanding you waive an inspection that should be a red flag there could be a good reason not to buy the home.