- The first step in a title search requires that a real estate lawyer review the abstract pages contained in the Abstract Book. The Abstract book is an index or record of all documents executed relating to and having effect on the proprietary rights of the said piece of real-estate. The abstract pages contained in the Abstract book are a record of all documents on file at the Registry Office. The Registration Number for that lot is used to obtain the relevant abstract pages.
- Having done the abovementioned, the real estate lawyer then generally proceeds to obtain and copy the relevant documents from the Registry Office in order to review them for any errors, impropriety, completeness or mistakes. The following things are generally under the consideration of a lawyer at this stage;
- Whether the person selling the property or transferring the property now is the same one who received the property in the previous deed.
- Formalities such as whether the deed was properly signed, dated and witnessed were correctly adhered to.
- Whether the proper language and form is contained in the document.
- Whether the previous transferor was of legal age or the age of majority and in the case of a marital home if both spouses agreed and consented to the transfer.
- Whether all taxes applicable to the ownership and/or transfer of the property were paid
- Whether the legal description of the property was done so correctly.
Under the Land Titles system only the last title deed is considered and reviewed as ownership is guaranteed by the Provincial Ownership. In comparison under the Land Registry system title deeds for the past 40 years must be examined.
3. In the third stage of a Title search a real-estate lawyer, having, verified the propriety of the title deeds proceeds to search for any executions against the property. These (executions) are any judgments registered against the property in the Land Registry Office, which if have remained outstanding at the time of the search may form a lien on the land barring the current owner from conveyancing a good title to the purchaser;
- Under the Land Titles system any executions must be cleared up with each conveyancing and a search is only required by the name of the last owner of the property.
- In contrast under the Land Registry System executions need to be searched for the last 20 years by the name of each owner. The search is difficult if the name of an owner is common as the executions are filed by names and may show up against the current owner due to him or her sharing a name with someone else.
4. In the final stage of the title search the real-estate lawyer is tasked with ensuring that the property was not illegally subdivided. If the abstract pages do not initially show that the relevant consent was obtained for subdividing the property, the real estate lawyer must search the properties adjoining the land in question in order to determine whether the relevant consent was obtained or whether the severance or subdivision predates what is known as the forgiveness period.
Upon completing the abovementioned stages of the title search the real estate lawyer then reviews all documents obtained and analyses whether any defects exist within them. The real-estate lawyer may then determine the gravity of any problems and may use them as requisitions to the counterpart (generally the seller’s lawyer).
For more information please contact one of our experienced Real Estate Lawyers at MEHDI AU LLP.
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