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Declaring “mafia” neighbours is “irresponsible”: broker

Declaring “mafia” neighbours is “irresponsible”: broker


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Brokers must disclose that several members of organized crime have lived at 1000 de la Commune

There’s the pedophile who reportedly lived in a posh condo on Nuns’ Island. Then there’s the reputed Montreal crime boss who’s said to own an apartment at a well-known Westmount building.

Several Montreal real estate brokers are fuming over a requirement that they disclose the identities of known mobsters, police raids, or other unsavoury incidents that could bring down the value of a property they are selling. Their ire stems from comments in my last blog post, made by Robert Nadeau, president of the real estate watchdog Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec or (OACIQ).

Not only do brokers have to declare any pertinent information about a particular condo, or house, during a sale,  but also about the property’s neighbours, said Nadeau, following media reports that several alleged organized crime figures had taken up residence at the posh 1000 de la Commune.

“When a broker knows a factor that could be unfavourable to a transaction he must reveal it,” Nadeau told me. “From this moment on, a broker cannot say he doesn’t know (about 1000 de la Commune).”

According to the U.S. Appraisal Institute, having “bad neighbours” can decrease property values by 10 per cent.  That’s why I can see how Nadeau would be sticking up for buyers – especially ones from out of town who might not be aware of a certain building’s dirty little secrets.

The problem, as one top-earning broker puts it, is that the ties between construction and the mafia are so strong in Montreal, that these secrets are no longer so little. And unlike co-ops in New York City, where close-knit boards can select who they deem worthy of having as neighbours, condo corps., or syndicates in cities like Montreal have no such clout.

“At that rate, every luxury condo building in Montreal has been built with some people close or having ties to the mafia. Just listen for one hour to the Charbonneau Commission,” she told in me, after complaining to Nadeau. “I can’t believe how irresponsible for OACIQ to have thousands of co-owners see the value of their condos go down dramatically!! This is going beyond anyone can imagine.”

Judging by the number of questions I’ve heard, I think  Quebec’s estimated 14,000 brokers would benefit from  a better understanding of what kind of information is material to a sale when it comes to the neighbours.

While this line risks sounding like the start of a bad joke, how many gangsters does it take to bring down a property’s values? Really.

It’s something Nadeau and the OACIQ should do. Because if he doesn’t, rest assured the lawyers will.