Jeffrey Cowan

What to do with a leaky Townhome?

I rented a town house in Mississauga in June of 2010 and in August of the same summer during a rain storm, water seeped into basement through the drywall.I reported the incident and the management fixed the problem.However, once again a year later, the same seepage happened and then re-occurred in...

Thursday, January 26, 2012, 2:50 AM

Water-filter woes

Q: We purchased our first home three months ago and there was an expensive water filtration system installed in the home that was not included in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.We had a lengthy time before we closed for the vendors to remove the system but on the closing date, it was still...

Thursday, January 19, 2012, 2:28 AM

When you and your partner part ways

Q: After five years of marriage, my husband and I are parting ways. We have more or less decided that I would stay in the house with our trusty dog and that I would buy him out of his portion. What do I need to do?A: The first step you will need to address is setting out your terms of separation in...

Thursday, December 1, 2011, 3:47 AM

Key question

Q: I have purchased a home in a rural area and am moving from the city for a quieter life. I have retained a lawyer in town to assist me with the sale of my city home and the purchase of my country house. Everything has gone very smoothly however, on closing, the keys for my new property were...

Thursday, November 24, 2011, 2:54 AM

Unpaid property taxes

Q: I sold a property almost a year ago and my lawyer insisted that she hold back $3,000 because the property taxes had not been assessed and the purchaser’s lawyer was trying to make sure there was adequate money available to pay the tax for the time that I owned the property.I have contacted my...

Thursday, November 17, 2011, 2:04 AM

Occupancy permit

I recently applied to the City to put a back deck on my two-year-old home.The municipality indicated to me that the builder had not obtained a final inspection for the property and there was a minor change that they noted on their file that needed to be addressed.I thought when I bought the...

Thursday, November 10, 2011, 2:59 AM

When water woes 'rear their ugly head'

Q. We purchased a 50-year-old house in the summer. There was a very heavy rain in August and we found that the roof above the family room leaked. Upon closer examination of the ceiling, we saw the drywall had been patched and painted over to match. The underpad for the carpeting was also stained in...

Thursday, November 3, 2011, 1:30 AM

Navigating the pitfalls of private sales

Q: I have been attempting to sell my house privately and had an offer on the property that was conditional on the purchaser obtaining financing.She had seven days to waive (agree to) the condition in writing or the deal was dead.By the seventh day, I had not heard from her so I assumed the...

Thursday, October 27, 2011, 5:30 AM

Death and taxes are simply unavoidable

Q: I am unmarried and own two houses that I have willed to my two sisters individually. What are the taxes that should be considered if I pass away and the houses go to my sisters?A: Although I don’t profess to be an expert on taxes (you should consult an accountant for a definitive answer), you...

Thursday, October 20, 2011, 5:30 AM

Savings may lead to conflict

Q. My mother is 87 years old and owns a house valued at $450,000 to $500,000.My brother is currently living with her in order to help her out with day-to-day living. There are five siblings in total.My mother’s will specifies that her assets are to be divided equally amongst her children.We had...

Thursday, October 13, 2011, 5:30 AM

Tricky utility charges

Q. We are a family of three (me, my wife and our 11-month-old baby).As we are first time home buyers we spent three months looking for the perfect condo to match our current and next five-year budgetary needs.With the ongoing increases in rent and hydro we decided to purchase a condo, as the...

Thursday, September 29, 2011, 5:30 AM

Children and joint home ownership

Q: I am getting older and thinking of my kids and their inheritance. My house is my most valuable asset and it was mentioned to me by a friend that to avoid estate taxes on the value of my home when I pass away, I can transfer the ownership to my children and myself. Is this a good suggestion?A:...

Thursday, September 22, 2011, 5:30 AM

Dealing with water from the condo above

Q. In mid-August, the owner/tenants in the unit above my condo had a problem with their bathroom faucet and a substantial amount of water leaked through my bathroom ceiling and walls.There was significant damage to the floors in my condo, the repair for which is covered by my insurance. However,...

Thursday, September 15, 2011, 5:30 AM

When former owners are slow to leave

Q: We recently purchased a home and our lawyer was quite efficient and managed to close the transaction by mid-day on the day of closing. Anxious to go see our new place, we picked up the keys from our lawyer and proceeded to the house. When we arrived, we found the former owner was still moving...

Thursday, September 8, 2011, 2:09 AM

When Buying a Commercial Condominium

Q: I run an office-based business and I am interested in purchasing a property from which I can operate. There are lots of commercial buildings out there but I had thought I might buy a commercial condo. What should I be aware of when considering this type of real estate investment?A: Many people...

Thursday, September 1, 2011, 10:30 AM

Has my first home gone to pot?

I am in the process of purchasing my first property and my lawyer has been told by the title insurer that the property used to be a grow-op’and is on a list of homes that are so designated by the police. They will not title insure the property unless my lawyer performs other searches to make sure...

Thursday, August 25, 2011, 5:30 AM

Remember to cancel your old utility bill

Q: I recently sold a condominium and the following month I realized that the utility company continued to remove the monthly charge from my bank account.They are now refusing to refund the money even though I proved to them that I do not own the property any more.I contacted my lawyer who indicated...

Thursday, August 18, 2011, 1:24 AM

Positive ID

I recently had an appointment with my lawyer to sign the papers on the purchase of a property.I have completed several purchases with my lawyer over the past two decades and all of a sudden, she requested that I provide photo identification.I admit I do not carry photo ID as I do not drive and my...

Thursday, August 4, 2011, 10:30 AM

Get your inspections in order

We recently purchased an older home that was advertised as having all new electrical wiring. When we entered the offering process, we were told by our agent that there were going to multiple offers and we should put our ‘best foot forward’. We had considered including a condition in our offer for a...

Thursday, July 28, 2011, 5:30 AM

Let there be light

Q: I had a meeting with my lawyer with respect to a new home I was purchasing and was informed that I needed to contact the utility providers to set up my accounts. My real estate agent had told me that the lawyer will do this for me and I didn’t need to worry about this. Now at the eleventh hour,...

Thursday, July 21, 2011, 8:30 AM