When purchasing real-estate amongst the main duties given to a real-estate lawyer is the title search which is done in order to ensure that the seller and the vendor has the lawful ability to sell the property to the purchaser with a ‘clear title’.
Currently in the Province of Ontario there are two distinct schemes in operation which may be relied upon in order to do a title search. These schemes are the Land Titles system, and the Land Registry System. In operation, title searches and verification under both these schemes are done in different ways and have varying costs as well.
The Land Registry System
The original system relied upon in the Province of Ontario for recording the legal ownership of land is known as the Land Registry System. Under the Land Registry System, the opinion of the real estate-lawyer is critical and a mistake on part of the lawyer can give rise to liabilities for the client and/or even for the lawyer him/herself. There is a Land Registry Office in Ontario, however the Land Registry Office only serves as an institution which keeps the records of all instruments which effect the proprietary rights of the real property. The real estate lawyer must examine the deed or any other instruments for a period of the past 40 years in order to determine whether a clear title to the real property in question exists to be conveyed to the purchaser. The examination requires the Lawyer to check the records for whether in the past 40 years any mistakes or improper transmission of the real property has been made. This method is generally more expensive as the additional search of executions made against the property are required to be searched by each owner name for the past 20 years. This increases the cost of the search.
The Land Titles System
In contrast to the above-mentioned scheme of title searches, stands the Land Titles System. Under the Land Titles System, the Government stands as a guarantor to the title of the property. The Government records clarify who the owner of the real property is. This method is less costly and easier for a real-estate lawyer as the lawyer need only to examine and rely upon the last deed executed on the property in order to determine ownership and any other issues of title are available for consideration under the title pages.
Which Method Of Title Search Is Required:
The answer to this question depends upon when and how the ownership of the real property in question is held. In the Province of Ontario most subdivisions and condominiums developed after the 80’s has their titles held in the Land Titles System, whereas older properties are held in the Land Registry System.
For more information please contact one of our experienced Real Estate Lawyers at MEHDI AU LLP.
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