I attended a conference yesterday through the Ontario Bar Association called the Institute of Continuing Professional Development. It is an annual program for lawyers in Ontario that provides an overview of developments in every area of law. I spent the morning learning about updates in real estate law, and one session in particular caught my attention: the one on Seller Property Information Sheets.
A SPIS is a form that some sellers will fill out detailing information about the property, everything from zoning issues to structural issues to environmental concerns. The form specifically states on it that it is not a warranty, and that the purchaser cannot rely on the statements contained on it. However, there have been numerous cases in Ontario where a purchaser was able to break through a SPIS, and also cases where the purchaser was made aware of an issue through a SPIS, bought anyway, and successfully sued the vendor for the problem with the property.
If you are thinking about completing a SPIS, the most important piece of information to take away is to complete it with either your realtor or your lawyer, and ensure that you understand everything you answer.