A Victoria couple were ordered to pay more than $50,000 to the people they sold their property to almost four years ago after an underground oil storage tank (UST) was found despite an addendum in the contract stating they would remove any USTs from the property. (Black Press Media File Photo)

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

A Victoria pair has been ordered to pay $55,000 to the people who bought their home almost four years ago after an underground oil storage tank was found on the property

Christopher Warren and Antonia Warren were ordered by the B.C. Supreme Court to pay $44,774 in damages, plus $10,655 in litigation costs to William Walton and Nikolas Hill after the tank was removed from the Esquimalt property and the contaminated soil remediated.

READ ALSO: Esquimalt arsonist sentencing adjourned to allowing family time to plan

Walton and Hill bought the property in early 2016. They assert the Warrens breached the contract of purchase and sale by failing to remove the oil tank before the sale concluded.

Walton claimed their Realtor had warned them that many older homes in Victoria have buried oil tanks. Following her advice, they included an oil-tank addendum in the contract to protect them against any costs associated with removing it.

Two companies scanned the property for evidence of an underground oil storage tank and found none, and the contract was completed.

Two years later, the home’s basement flooded and required a new drain system. A contractor eventually discovered an underground oil storage tank on the property.

READ ALSO: Saanich aims to help homeowners dump their oil tanks for heat pumps

The plaintiffs paid $42,720 to remove the tank and remediate the soil. Walton and Hill were initially unable to pay the full sum on time and incurred carrying charges of $578.

Neither Christopher nor Antonia Warren claimed to have had any knowledge of a tank, and said they received a report stating there was none when they bought the property. A company scan also turned up no evidence.

“I accept that the defendants were surprised to learn of the underground oil storage tank on the property,” wrote Justice Heather MacNaughton in her reasons for judgment, which were posted online last week.

According to MacNaughton, the claim was not a complex one and revolved around the interpretation of the addendum. The Warrens argued it should be interpreted as only requiring them to remove and remediate any underground oil tank that was discovered prior to the contract’s completion date.

MacNaughton disagreed, stating the addendum was not “ambiguous” and required the defendants to remove “any” oil tank on the property.

“As an oil tank was discovered some years after the completion date, the defendants had not complied with the terms of the addendum on the completion date. They were in breach of the addendum,” she wrote.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Cranbrook and Kimberley Councils support initiative calling on BC Gov. to cover prescription contraception

On September 14, 2020, Cranbrook City Council unanimously passed a motion calling… Continue reading

Former MP Wayne Stetski running for BC NDP in Kootenay East

Former federal MP Wayne Stetski is running as the BC NDP candidate… Continue reading

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read