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Real Estate Talk:
Certificate of Location

Sellers must provide this essential document

By Joseph Marovitch

Updated March 20, 2019

You purchase a new home and are not provided an up-to-date certificate of location. A year goes by and the house next door sells. The new neighbour next door informs you that your garage encroaches on their property and must be removed, or your pool crosses over the property line into their backyard and must be reduced in size, or your daughter’s bedroom window has an illegal view into their living room window and must be blocked.

Other examples are your home does not conform to city bylaws, the material used in the pipes is plastic and must be replaced, the city cadastre numbers have changed and are no longer valid. There are so many issues that can come up if you do not know what you are purchasing.

The law requires that a seller must provide a buyer of a residential property with an up to date certificate of location.

The location certificate is a document that includes a report and a plan, through which the land surveyor expresses his or her professional opinion on the actual situation and state of an immovable property. It provides a status report in regards to the ownership titles, cadastre and laws governing this property. The certificate is required by the buyer, notary and the bank if the buyer is taking a mortgage.

The law requires that a seller must provide a buyer of a residential property with an up to date certificate of location.

In some cases, the financial lender may ask for a new certificate if the current one is more than seven years old. It should be noted that should the financial institution request a new certificate of location and in fact, the old certificate of location has no changes such as additional or changed structure or new cadastre numbers, then it would be the responsibility of the buyer to pay the expense of acquiring a new certificate.

If there have been changes to the structure or designation of cadastre numbers and these changes are not reflected in the current certificate of location, it would then be the responsibility of the seller to purchase a new certificate of location.

It is rare that the real estate broker does not inform the buyer that they require a certificate of location, however, in the case of private sales, it can happen that the buyer will purchase a property without an up to date certificate, though the notary in the due diligence would know a new certificate is required and inform the seller.

A certificate of location is prepared by a surveyor and surveyors usually give a preferred rate to real estate brokers. When I order a certificate for a client, the cost averages $750 plus tax. The price will vary depending on the size of the home if it is attached or detached or a condominium.

‘Issues such as non-conformity with city bylaws, property cross over to the neighbour or an underground oil tank in the backyard, can delay a new certificate by months.’

Most sellers will be informed when they begin the process of selling their home and, if required, order a new certificate of location right away. Many sellers choose not to order a new certificate if it is not required. They rather wait until they have a buyer. A new certificate takes up to three weeks to prepare if there are no issues in the process.

Issues such as non-conformity with city bylaws, property cross over to the neighbour or an underground oil tank in the backyard, can delay a new certificate by months.

When the buyer comes along and provides an offer whereby they want early possession, the seller is plain out of luck if the buyer is not prepared to wait.

I had clients in the past year who told me it was not urgent to have a certificate of location. I advised them strongly to get the document before we started the sales process. The seller, somewhat older and more experienced, as I was told, insisted on waiting. I also advised them to price the property for the current market but they insisted I price the property higher. I told them we can start higher if they insist but, if after 45 wasted days I could prove that the price should be reduced, they would reduce it.

Forty-five days pass and I indicated that there have been many views on the multiple listing service, however few calls and visits. Many views and few calls indicate a public interest in the property but not at the current price. My client insists on another month before changing the price. Now several months have passed and finally, the price was reduced and a buyer arrived with an offer. My client accepted the offer with conditions of mortgage and inspection. To no surprise of mine, both the notary and the bank requested a new certificate of location.

‘Always insure you have an up to date certificate of location at the beginning of the selling process.’

The surveyor was busy at that time of year and we had to wait four weeks to get the certificate prepared. This caused an amendment to be made to extend the signing date. In the process of preparing the certificate, the surveyor discovered that the driveway encroached on the neighbour’s actual walkway and that the bathroom window had an illegal view into the neighbour’s master bedroom.

This could have delayed the signing further but we had the window frosted so the view was blocked and we had the buyer purchase title insurance at the seller’s expense. The title insurance ensured that if the neighbour ever made an issue of the driveway encroachment, the insurance would cover legal fees and construction, if required.

The Bottom Line

Always ensure you have an up to date certificate of location at the beginning of the selling process.

Should you have questions or comments, please refer to the comments section at the bottom of the page. As well, to view past articles, click here.

Next article: Latent defects


State of the Market

According to CREA (The Canadian Real Estate Association), there will continue to be a good amount of construction in the condo and rental apartment market. Sales will continue to increase through to 2020 and market conditions will continue to favour sellers, causing single home prices to rise further.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, new construction will continue but there will be a tapering off as space on the island of Montreal diminishes. Single properties will continue to rise in price as we enter a reseller market only. The price of commercial spaces and condos will also inevitably rise in a reseller market where there will eventually be a finite number of properties for sale.

Gold is expensive because it is rare and hard to find. Real estate can be the same. When there is a limited and finite amount of property to purchase, that property is gold.

Image: Andrew Burlone

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Joseph Marovitch has worked in the service industry for over 30 years. His first career was working with families from Westmount and surrounding areas, hosting children between the ages of 6 to 16 as the owner and director of Camp Maromac, a sports and arts sleep away summer camp established in 1968. Using the same strengths caring for the families, such as reliability, integrity, honesty and a deep sense of protecting the interests of those he is responsible to, Joseph applies this to his present real estate broker career. Should you have questions please feel free to contact Joseph Marovitch at 514 825-8771 or josephmarovitch@gmail.com

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