Hazard Trees to Avoid When Buying Homes

Paper Birch in your new backyard, you need a hazard tree assessment. 

A potential silent killer could be lurking under its impressive, peeling white bark. 

Get a tree hazard assessment before you buy, and rout out the predatory Bronze Birch Borer before it takes over the home seller’s pride and joy.

What is a Risk Tree?

That Red Mulberry tree gracing the Lake Erie cottage you hope to buy — it’s an endangered species under Ontario law. 

Despite what your realtor says, it may be there to stay. You could even be eligible for a provincial stewardship program to keep your trees safe.

Endangered, threatened, or special concern trees require special treatment. So do trees that are dying, diseased, or a safety hazard. Buyer beware if you find tree stands on a property or lot you want to buy.

Must-knows for the first time home buyer in Ontario. 

How do you tell if a tree is a hazard versus a species at risk? 

Examples of Hazards

7 signs you have a risk tree:

  1. Large branches appear dead or unhealthy.
  2. Limbs appear broken from construction or wind storms.
  3. The trunk is leaning.
  4. Hanging branches are detached or touching electrical lines.
  5. Large cavities are evident in the trunk or branches.
  6. The trunk is split.
  7. The roots protrude from shallow soil.

Find tree species at risk in Ontario here. 

Apply for species at risk permits, authorizations, or exemptions. 

Hazards of Cutting Trees

By now you’re thinking, “I’ll just cut down the risk trees and be done with it.” Expedient though it may be, that presents all kinds of hazards you could transfer to the seller just by amending the agreement of purchase and sale.

What to do about a home inspection condition deficiency. 

Cutting trees is a legal hazard, in potentially expensive or disastrous ways.

  • Until you get clear title to a property, cutting trees is illegal.
  • Tree roots can infiltrate neighbouring properties. Who owns the trees in your own backyard depends on where the roots are located. Read our article on tree ownership disputes.
  • Trees may be owned by the municipality, or be protected by a local heritage or land conservation authority. Expect to be fined if you cut down a tree in a municipal boulevard, or a rare tree stand. 
  • Accidents happen, and that’s why falling trees may require a permit. Ask your local municipality before just going ahead.
  • Check the home insurance is in your name before making any moves. Talk to your insurance about your liability coverage in case a felled tree damages your home, the neighbour’s, a contractor, or onlookers.

Time it right — the real estate closing process in Ontario. 

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer 

Axess Law protects your rights under property line laws in Ontario. We have a professional real estate lawyer near you, in person or by remote video conference any time you buy or sell a home or land. 

Find a real estate lawyer near me. 

You don’t need to worry that terms or conditions in your offer to purchase lock you into a real estate deal without any options. Axess Law goes over your draft agreement of purchase and sale to add essential clauses that give you the right to withdraw by mutual consent, or protect your buyer’s right to cancel.

Draft an amendment to an agreement of purchase and sale. 

Real estate agents can draft offers to purchase, but only a licensed Ontario lawyer can give you legal advice on your draft or final agreement. Bring yours to our offices, or email it to us, and we’ll conclude the real estate transaction for you.

Documents your real estate lawyer needs for your home purchase. 

When a home or land you’re interested in is surrounded by trees, Axess Law can add a tree inspection clause to the subject-to conditions to protect your interests. If a tree inspector finds trouble trees, your Axess Law legal team liaises with the seller’s lawyer to negotiate who will pay to remove them before the deal goes through.

Your right to a home inspection clause in Ontario. 

Once you’re satisfied hazard trees have been dealt with, your Axess Law real estate lawyer searches the title to your new property, and registers it in your name. Adding  family members to title to a property is easy to do. We arrange it for you when you conclude the sale, or any time that’s convenient for you. 

How to make a property title transfer in Ontario. 

If our title review turns up financial encumbrances that could block a property sale, or rights of way you didn’t know about, Axess Law contacts the seller’s lawyer. Construction liens or financial claims are cleared up before the title is registered, or the real estate transaction cancelled if no resolution is possible. Add a spouse to the title of your property.

Borrowing a mortgage, or discharging your old one? Your Axess Law legal representative receives mortgage instructions from your lenders to finalize your loan, and the home is yours.

Virtual Video Conference Services, For Your Convenience

Seeing a lawyer in person is not always convenient, or there may not be one in your community. Axess Law arranges remote real estate lawyer services anywhere in Ontario. You can close real estate transactions online, using secure, confidential video conferencing software. Our virtual real estate lawyers witness your signature remotely, and email you the legal records when they’re complete. You can video conference with us from any home computer, laptop, tablet, or compatible mobile device.

Is using a virtual real estate lawyer safe? 

Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are 

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario  when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it. 

Hire a real estate lawyer near me.

Book Your Legal Appointment Today

Make your own appointments online, using our easy web form to pick dates and times that work for you. Or call our 647-479-0118 lawyer line (toll free to 1-877-522-9377) to talk to a live operator to book virtual lawyer services or in-person appointments at our Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices

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