Purchasing a property is not always as simple as it sounds. Navigating the purchase and sale agreement alone is an arduous task. When purchasing a property there are several unforeseen problems which may arise and securing the services of an experienced and reputable real estate lawyer may aid in avoiding these problems and making the right decisions. Amongst some of these tasks is prior to purchase the real estate lawyer can be tasked with sending out letters to the local municipalities, tax departments and utilities.
The next step for the lawyer in conducting the purchase of Real Estate is to send out letter search inquiries to the local municipality and utilities.
The letters sent out to the municipality is done so in order to gain a confirmation that the property about to be purchased is in complete compliance with the local zoning by-laws. A Plan of Survey made by a Registered Ontario Surveyor and reviewed by the real estate lawyer is sent to the municipality in order to show compliance of structures and permitted uses under the by-laws. The municipality then sends out a confirmation letter in light of the survey provided by the real estate lawyer. The relevant tax department is also sent a letter in order to request that a tax certificate be issued indicating any outstanding taxes as well as requesting that taxes for the property to be changed over to the new owner (i.e. the purchaser) on the date of closing. This allows for the real-estate lawyer on behalf of the purchaser to confirm whether the seller has cleared all the taxes relating to the property and that the client (i.e. the purchaser) will not be required by threat of sale of the property to pay the taxes.
Another letter which the real-estate lawyer may required to send out is when the client is interested in purchasing a new home subject to a severance or a subdivision. This letter is sent in order to secure a confirmation that a valid sub-division agreement is in place for the property. Also, this letter is aimed at ensuring that the sub-division developers’ obligations as to the installation of utilities such as water, sewage, electricity, lights, roads etc. have been fulfilled. If not, then if the security to provide these services are in place should the developer fail to fulfill these obligations. Such a measure by the real-estate lawyer serves to protect the purchaser from a financial burden which may be accrued where a sub-division agreement is not in place, or a developer has failed to fulfill his or her obligations, or a security is not in place. By this letter the real-estate lawyer also ensures whether a new home warranty is in place.
Real-estate lawyers also aid purchasers in sending out Utility Search Letters in order to ensure that all the utilities which typically service a specific type of property are in place. This letter also serves to request;
- A change in name of the utilities to the purchaser.
- A final reading of the utilities be made on the closing date.
- Whether there are any arrears.
A reply from the utilities departments and the municipality can generally take up to a month to arrive and therefore must be done with due diligence within the available time.
For more information please contact one of our experienced Real Estate Lawyers at MEHDI AU LLP.
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