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Alberta is well-known for its real estate industry. As of 26 October 2022, the average price of real estate in the province was $1,114,341. With that hefty price tag, land title registrations are a necessary real estate process. Understanding how they work is essential for anyone who wants to buy or sell property in the province.
This article will provide an overview of Alberta’s land title registration system and explain some of the key concepts.
Land Registration System in Canada
The Land Titles Act governs land titles in Alberta. The process outlined in the legislation is based on the Torrens System, which Robert Torrens developed in the 1800s. Interestingly, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and some parts of Ontario follow the same or similar processes.
All transactions will be registered with the Land Titles Office when you buy or sell real estate property in Alberta, ensuring that the property is correctly transferred to the new owner. Registering a land title can be complex. Therefore, it’s critical to seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer. The lawyer will make sure that the transaction is registered properly and will also handle all the necessary paperwork.
One essential part of the registration process is deed registration, which records the transfer of ownership in the land title registry. When you buy property, the lawyer will prepare a deed of purchase and sale, which will eventually be filed with the Land Titles Office and become part of the land title registry.
The deed registry system protects property owners by creating a public record of all real estate transactions. It also ensures that everyone involved in a real estate transaction can access accurate information about the property.
What is a land title in Alberta?
A land title in Alberta is a document that serves as evidence of the ownership of a property. The land title registry can provide valuable information about a property, such as an owner’s name and the property’s legal description. This information will be helpful for anyone interested in buying or selling property in Alberta.
Certificate of Title Alberta
A certificate of title, which names the owner of the land, is issued by the government. It shows that the property is legally registered, and the title is clear and unencumbered. Aside from the legal description and the owner’s name, the certificate of title will also have the names of all previous owners.
The certificate of title is a vital document for property owners, as it is evidence of ownership of property. Additionally, the certificate demonstrates that the property is legally registered in the land registry office, which is also helpful for anyone who wants to obtain a mortgage or borrow money against the property.
Knowing Your Alberta Land Title
As a property owner in Alberta, it’s important to understand the land title registration system and the role of the Land Titles Office. Since the certificate of title is evidence of ownership of the property, you must keep it safe. In fact, potential buyers and lenders may even ask to see the document.
Code and legal description
The Land Identification Number Code (LINC) is a system that assigns a unique registration number to each parcel of land in Alberta. It’s used to track the property and to find information and the legal description about it in the land title registry. You can find the LINC on the certificate of title of the property.
The LINC consists of 11 characters and includes information about the property, such as the municipality, quarter section, and lot number. It can be helpful for anyone who wants to do a property search or if they need to find information about a specific parcel of land.
Types of title ownership
Basic Land Rights/Fee Simple
Under this system of ownership, the owner of a property has the right to use, possess, and enjoy the property without interference. The owner also has the authority to sell, lease or gift the property to someone else. The fee simple system is the most common type of ownership, which offers the property owner the most significant amount of protection.
The fee simple system is available for all types of property, including land, buildings, and improvements. One of the conveniences of this system is that it allows a property to be easily transferred to future generations, making it a valuable asset for inheritance.
A leasehold interest is a type of property ownership in which the owner holds a lease for a specific amount of time. While the leaseholder has the right to use and enjoy the property for the duration of the lease, they don’t have permanent ownership. This type of interest is common in properties such as apartments, condos, and townhouses.
A leasehold interest can be a vital asset for the leaseholder, as it provides a sense of security and can be used as collateral for borrowing money. It’s also helpful for those who want to protect their registered interests in case of a sale or transfer. Moreover, a leasehold interest can benefit those who want to live in a particular property for a specific amount of time.
A life estate, which is common for properties such as homes, farms, and businesses, lets the registered owner use and enjoy the property for the duration of their life. After the owner’s death, the property goes to another person or organization.
Having a life estate in property is also an asset for the owner, as it provides a sense of security and can be used as collateral for borrowing money.
Details of the owners
One or more people may hold land titles in Alberta. Titles will include the names of all the owners and the type of tenancy of the parcel. The following are the three most common types of tenancies:
A sole tenancy is a type of land ownership in which one owner has rights to the property. This type of tenancy is common for properties such as homes, farms, and businesses. A sole tenancy provides the owner with security and can be a valuable asset for future use. Furthermore, it can also be used as collateral to borrow money.
A tenancy-in-common is a type of land ownership with more than one owner, and each owner has an undivided interest in the property. Property owners, or the tenants in common, share ownership of properties, such as apartments, condos, and townhouses.
A joint tenancy is ownership of land where two or more people own a property. Property owners have an equal share in the property and have the right to use, sell or lease it. Joint tenants must all agree to any changes to the property, such as selling or mortgaging it. According to the right of survivorship, if one co-owner dies, the other registered owners inherit the deceased owner’s share in the property.
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Information registered on a land title
Transfer of land
When a property changes hands, the ownership of the land must be transferred from the old owner to the new owner. This process is called a “transfer of land,” and it’s governed by provincial legislation, which sets out the requirements that must be met for the transfer to be valid.
A mortgage is a security interest you can register on a land title, which allows the lender to seize the property if the loan is not repaid. For a mortgage to be valid, it must be registered on the land title, and the lender will need to pay a fee and provide a copy of the mortgage to the registry office. The mortgage will remain on the title until it’s paid in full.
Caveats are a type of legal notice you can register on a land title, which prevents the property from being sold, mortgaged, or gifted without the consent of the person who registered the caveat. The person who registers the caveat is called the “caveator.”
The builders’ lien allows the contractor or supplier to seize the property if the owner fails to pay for the provided goods or services. For a builder’s lien to be valid, it must be registered on the land title.
Utility Right of Way (URW)
Utility Right of Way (URW) is another type of encumbrance that you can register on a land title. The URW allows the utility company to access a parcel of the land to install, maintain or repair the utility service. However, the URW must be registered on the land title to have this right of way. Additionally, the utility company will need to provide a fee and a copy of the URW to the registry office, which will be attached to the property’s land title.
Encumbrances prevent the property from being sold, mortgaged, or gifted without the consent of the person who registered the encumbrance.
Restrictive covenants restrict the use of the property in some way. However, they must be registered on the land title to be valid.
Types of land title plans
Under the Land Titles Act, survey plans should be registered by land title offices, which generally ensures that all interested parties have access to information and it also protects their interests. The registry office maintains a registry of all plans of survey and updates them as new plans are registered. It’s very important for anyone who wants to purchase or mortgage a property to check the registry first to ensure there are no title restrictions.
The following are the survey plans that are available for registration at the Land Titles Office:
- Subdivision plan – roads, reserve land, public utility parcels
- Condominium plan
- Descriptive plans
- Sirata plan
- Right of way and related site plans
- Road plans
If you’re buying or selling a property, working with a lawyer specializing in real estate law is essential. They can help make the land title registration process quicker and more manageable. They can also help you understand any restrictions or encumbrances registered on the title. Hiring a lawyer can ensure that your purchase or sale goes smoothly.
Let an Experienced Real Estate Lawyer Handle Your Land Registration Process
When buying or selling a property, it’s important to make sure that there are no restrictions on the title. You can do this by working with a lawyer who specializes in real estate law. They can help you understand any encumbrances or restrictive covenants registered on the title. An experienced real estate lawyer can also help make the land title registration process quicker and more manageable.
Whatever transaction you engage in, you need an experienced real estate lawyer who can provide crucial information and guide you through the process. Call Diamond and Diamond Lawyers now!
FAQs on Understanding Land Title Registrations
How do I get my mortgage off of my title now that I’ve paid it off?
If you’ve paid off your mortgage, your lender should notify you that the mortgage is paid off in full. Once you have this letter, you can take it to the registry office, and they will remove the mortgage from the title. If you have any questions or trouble getting the letter from your lender, contact an experienced real estate lawyer.
Is my spouse’s approval needed to sell a property interest?
There’s no definitive answer regarding whether a spouse’s approval is needed to sell a property interest. Sometimes, you need your spouse’s permission to complete the sale. However, in other cases, the spouse may have little power to stop the deal. It will help if you speak to an experienced real estate lawyer so that you can better understand what’s required in your situation.
Where can I obtain a copy of a Real Property Report?
You can obtain one from the registry office or your lawyer. The report will outline any encumbrances or restrictions registered on the title. Reviewing the information before you buy or sell the property is important.