When buying a home in Alberta there are so many things to look out for its hard to insure everything is checked. Sometimes we can be so meticulous about the little things we over see the big items staring us right in the face. In residential purchase agreements it states the seller need to assure that:
– the current use of the Land complies with the existing municipal land use bylaw;
– the Buildings and other improvements on the Land are not placed partly or wholly on any easement or utility right-of-way and are entirely on the Land and do not encroach on neighbouring lands, except where an encroachment agreement is in place; and
– the location of Buildings and other improvements on the Land complies with all relevant municipal bylaws, regulations or relaxations granted by the appropriate municipality prior to the Completion Day, or the Buildings and other improvements on the Land are “non- conforming buildings” as that term is defined in the Municipal Government Act (Alberta).
This all means that any developments or renovations are to code. An example of this being non-conforming would be, They built a beautiful deck in the back yard… on top of the water shut off valve. These things could cause some serious grief if overlooked.
The RPR is a report created by a professional that safe guards agaist this happening and should be requested and provided when purchasing a home. The RPR by definition is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of structures and significant improvements from the original build. It contains details of: land size, structure dimensions, underground utilities, past improvements, property boundaries and much more. They are completed by a registered Alberta Land Surveyors. Land Surveyors are governed by provincial law to protect the public’s interest in matter of real property boundaries. This report safe guards the buyer to make sure they know exactly what they are buying.
What if the seller doesn’t have it? In this case you have two options:
1. You can get the seller to provide you with the report.
In order to get a new copy of the Real Property Report you will have to contact the Alberta Land Surveyor who created the original report and request an updated report (only the original Land Surveyor can update the report). This will be less costly than having a new RPR completed. Once your RPR is completed you will have to apply for a Compliance Certificate. The application should include copies of the RPR as well as the Land Title Certificate. Once fees are paid (cost depends on the property) and its submit it can take quite some time for the RPR to be completed. The Compliance Report will take about 10 days to be stamped. More information on RPRs here alsa.ab.ca/publicinformation/realpropertyreports.aspx#WhoneedsaRealPropertyReport
2. You can get title insurance.
For a one-time fee, title insurance provides coverage for the entire length of your ownership of the property. Title insurance covers many of the risks associated with maintaining secure title to your property.
Some of the insured risks on residential properties include:
- Violations of municipal zoning bylaws
- Encroachments onto an adjoining property (other than fences and boundary walls)
- Unknown or undisclosed realty tax arrears
- Existing liens against the title
- Hidden deficiencies such as underground storage tanks
- Fraud, forgery, and false impersonation
- And more
As any insurance, this should justify the premium you pay for the policy. To acquire title insurance, you need to talk you your real estate lawyer.
Hopefully this give you an idea of your options with regards to the RPR when buying a home. Every deal is different and you should consider pros and cons of each when deciding which way to go. One time I got the seller to pay for the title insurance for me so he didn’t have to get the RPR and he was quite happy doing so. Win-win.