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

Big White’s $10-Million housing project helps attract employees

The resort is building four new buildings in Black Forest

Boundary Adult Hockey League moves into the final 4

Semi-finals start Feb. 25 in Grand Forks

Tax clinics for Boundary residents begin March 4

Drop-in times are available at ServiceBC, the Grand Forks Library, Gospel Chapel and in Greenwood

Greenwood Public Library looks to next chapter

The institution celebrated 75 years on Feb. 20

IN PHOTOS: 2020 Wilgress Lake Fishing Derby

Fishermen dotted Wilgress Lake for the Boundary Métis Association’s annual event

Rail disruptions expected to continue after new protest sites emerge

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Groundhogs got it wrong: spring isn’t coming soon, Weather Network says

The only part of B.C. to warm up early will be Victoria

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Most Read