Join our webinar and place a winning bid up to 4x faster! Thursday, November 30 – 11 a.m Learn more

Non-self-occupancy clause

If you're looking to buy a home, you may have encountered the term ‘non-self-occupancy clause’. You will sometimes find this clause in a purchase agreement when you buy a home. It is often stated online that the home is sold with a non-self-occupancy clause if applicable.

What does a non-self-occupancy clause mean?

A non-self-occupancy clause means that the house's seller does not live in it and therefore has no idea of any defects or hidden faults. For example, this could be the case if someone inherits a house or has a second home that is not permanently occupied. A seller may also choose to sell a house with a non-self-occupancy clause because they bought the house as an investment and are renting it out.

Impact on sellers' duty of disclosure

As a buyer, you have a right to a good home, and so the seller must report any defects or hidden flaws known at the time of sale. The home seller may not be aware of any defects or hidden flaws because the seller has thus not lived in the home recently. In doing so, the clause minimizes the sellers' duty of disclosure.

Impact on buyers' duty to investigate

If you buy a home with a non-self-occupancy clause, you are responsible for discovering any defects or hidden flaws as a buyer. Therefore, buyers need to do their research on the condition of the house before buying it. You do that with a building inspection of the house. If the seller knows about hidden defects and has kept quiet about them, he or she can be held liable for the cost of repairs. In practice, however, it is difficult to prove whether a defect in the home is known to the sellers, especially if the sellers themselves do not live there.    

In combination with age clause

Older homes are often more likely to have hidden defects than newer homes because different construction techniques were used in the past. Therefore, in addition to the non-self-occupancy clause, a seller of an old house may choose to sell the house with an age clause. Defects, which are due to age, can then not be recovered from the sellers. However, combining the age clause with the non-self-occupancy clause also shields sellers from liability for defects in newly remodeled house parts that would typically fall outside an age clause.

In this way, sellers are additionally covered for liability for defects surrounding remodeling work done to the home. Of course, this makes repairs at the buyers' expense!

Walter advisor

Buying a home?

Book your free orientation call with a Walter advisor. We will take you through the process of buying your next home.

Book a call — it's free

Continue reading

Obligation to investigate

Hidden defects

Transfer deed