Buying real estate subject to title review

Explaining property title

While most property buyers are familiar with the phrase “subject to financing,” many are often less familiar with the term “subject to title review”.

The titles to various properties in the Okanagan are located at the Land Title Office in Kamloops. Title is a legal document which confirms ownership of the property (i.e. who can sell the property) and includes information such as charges registered against the property, as well as legal notations.

There are several types of charges which can be found on a title. They can include rights of way, easements or statutory building schemes and covenants to name just a few. Most properties in Kelowna have registered charges, so it’s nothing out of ordinary.

It is important to understand the charges to ensure your intended use of the property can be accomplished. That is important if you plan to alter the property in some way. For example, you may want to add additional buildings, run a business or add a pool. The title may indicate restrictions on all of these.

For example, the City of Kelowna may have a right of way across a portion of your property to maintain underground sewage or water systems. If that is the case, you cannot build your dream pool within that right of way area, or anything else for that matter.

I am aware of a case where an individual built a pool within a right of way area without checking, and was subsequently forced by the city to rip it out.

Another example of a registered title charge are easements. Easements benefit one neighbouring property and burden the other. For example, you may see an easement where two properties have a shared driveway. The property owners share maintenance obligations, and neither can block the easement area. Easements cannot be changed or removed without consent from the owners of the properties that benefit from the easement.

Another reason we review title prior to subject removal, and again before closing, is to ensure there are no lawsuits that relate to the property.

Occasionally, a title will contain a certificate of pending litigation. That indicates a lawsuit has been filed against the owner. It will need to be removed if title is to change to a new owner.

If you need help in reviewing title and completing the purchase of your property, I can be reached at 778-478-8555 or by email at [email protected].

The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information and content are for general information purposes only.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Wes Forgione is a Partner with Montgomery Miles and Stone Law Firm located in Kelowna, BC. He was born and raised in Toronto and attended Osgoode Hall Law School prior to moving to Kelowna in 2013.

Wes practices in the areas of estate planning, real estate, and corporate/commercial law. His clients include families who need to organize their affairs, first time and experienced home buyers and developers, and new or established business owners. In this capacity, he often acts as “quarter back” for his clients and provides real time strategic and risk management advice.

Wes is committed to professional excellence. His approachability distinguishes him from other lawyers' and he prides himself on avoiding the artificial formality lawyers are known. He provides expert advice in a friendly and efficient manner. 

In the community, he regularly presents for mortgage brokers and realtors. He also participates in the Free Wills Month for charity.

In his spare time, Wes enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, his babies Henry and Archie , and sheltie in the great outdoors that Kelowna has to offer. He is also an avid fitness enthusiast, and trains Muay Thai with an aim to compete eventually.

You can contact Wes at 778-478-8555 or by email at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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