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)

Pair ordered to pay more than $50,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling Victoria home

Supreme Court Justice states the couple breached their contract

A Victoria pair has been ordered to pay more than $50,000 by the Supreme Court of B.C., to the people they sold their home to almost four years ago after an underground oil storage tank was found on the property in Esquimalt.

Christopher Warren and Antonia Warren were ordered to pay $44,774.30 in damages, plus $10,655.03 in litigation costs to William Walton and Nikolas Hill for the costs they paid to remove the tank and to remediate the contaminated soil associated with it.

According to the province, oil tanks have been used to heat homes for decades but are becoming obsolete as more effective heating methods are introduced. They also state that petroleum hydrocarbons and other substances can easily leak from underground storage tanks and migrate to other properties.

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

Walton and Hill purchased the property, located in the 1100-block of Bewdley Avenue, 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.

In an affidavit filed on behalf of both Walton and Hill, Walton stated the realtor they used had warned them that many older homes in Victoria have buried oil tanks. Following her advice, the pair included an oil tank addendum in their contract to protect them against any costs associated with removing an underground oil tank and remediation of resulting contaminated soil.

The addendum stated the sellers would ensure that any underground oil storage tank would be removed before the sale completion date, which was Feb. 29, 2016.

Between Jan. 2 and 8, 2016 two companies performed scans of the property. Neither of the companies found evidence of a underground oil storage tank and the contract was completed on the agreed-upon date.

Two years later the basement of the home on the property flooded and required replacement of the home’s drain system. On Nov. 16, 2018, a contractor discovered an underground oil storage tank on the property.

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

The underground oil storage tank was removed, along with the contents being pumped out for disposal. A representative of the Esquimalt Fire Department noted the soil around the underground oil storage tank appeared to be contaminated.

The plaintiffs paid $42,720.28 in total for the removal of the tank and soil remediation. In addition to the final charge, Walton and Hill were unable to pay all of the invoices when they were delivered and they incurred carrying charges of $577.74.

Neither Christopher Warren or Antonia Warren had any knowledge of the underground oil storage tank and stated in an affidavit that when they purchased the property they received a report that there were no underground oil storage tanks on the property. In addition to the report the couple had a company scan the property and received an oral report saying there was no evidence of underground oil storage tank.

“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 revolves around the interpretation of the addendum. The Warrens argued the addendum should be interpreted as only requiring them to remove and remediate any underground oil storage tank that was discovered prior to the 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

New, compressed natural gas buses hit Greater Victoria streets

12 new buses hitting the road, with a total of 71 to join the fleet by the end of the summer

Significant donation boosts Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s most ambitious fundraising campaign

Townline’s $600,000 donation helps purchase new 3 Telsa MRI for Royal Jubilee Hospital

Oak Bay’s only candy shop closing for good on Friday

Sweet Delights Candy Store going out of business

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

Saanich Police say bubbling pavement poses no threat to public

Resident reports water coming from cracked pavement at Cedar Hill Road and Cedar Hill Cross Road

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

GUEST COMMENT: Chamber clears up a few misconceptions

‘We are committed to continually improving the chamber,’ says president

Island wildlife rescue centre sees 9 poisoned birds since January

MARS trying to fundraise for ‘rigorous and expensive’ lead poisoning treatment

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades

Most Read