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How a sealed basement entrance almost sank a Quebec couple


When Emma and Charles Roy* first noticed the water pooling in the basement of their home in Repentigny, just north of Montreal, they thought it was a leaky pipe. Then the couple realized water was trickling into their home through the basement wall. Investigating first the wall itself, then the exterior at the back of the house, they suddenly realized the source of the water trickling into the basement—their pool.

The small, concrete-ringed inground pool in the backyard had been a selling feature of the home when they bought five years prior, but they had never connected it with the differently coloured concrete on the back basement wall until now.


The home had previously featured basement access in the back of the house via a staircase and door, but before the Roy family, a previous owner had sealed that access in order to make room for the backyard pool. The sealing job hadn’t taken, and over time had deteriorated enough for water to start seeping through from the pool and into the basement.

The Roys applied for a permit with the City of Montreal to do repair work on the basement wall, seeing the issue as an annoying but straightforward fix. That idea went away when the inspector came.

She informed them that the previous owner had built the pool and sealed the basement without a permit, and had to issue them an order to bring the house up to code. The bill came to $24,442.76, a massive and sudden expense. But the Roys didn’t worry—they knew exactly what to do.

A happy ending

When the Roys bought their home, they also purchased a residential title insurance policy with FCT. That small one-time investment was about to save them a lot of money. Since complying with an order to bring a previous owner’s unpermitted work to code is one of the covered risks, we were able to cover the Roy’s losses in full. With $24,442.76 to cover the expense of bringing their basement up to code, the Roys were able to get back to enjoying their pool—this time keeping the water where it belonged.

An invaluable investment

A title insurance policy can feel like just another hassle in a long series of optional add-ons in the process of closing on a home. For some, it’s a convenient way to provide a faster and smoother closing on a property and transition through the registration of title. For the Roys, it was much more. As they learned, many homes have hidden title and off-title issues that can incur huge expenses and take years to become apparent. A small one-time payment not only provides the protection homebuyers need when these issues emerge, but it also secures the peace of mind needed to fully enjoy their home for the years they’ll own it.

Learn more about how a residential title insurance policy from FCT offers more protection.


* Names changed to protect the privacy of the insured


Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

®Registered Trademark of First American Financial Corporation.

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