The Land Titles Offices in Alberta are currently experiencing the longest registration delays in their history. As of the second week of March 2022, documents submitted for registration will finally be registered in the second week of June and Land Titles is actually registering documents submitted during the first week of December 2021.
The delays are a result of several factors primarily related to the COVID-19 pandemic. First and foremost, the requirement to work from home has significantly impacted productivity. As we understand it, they do have a skeleton staff on site while the remainder of the document examiners work remotely. With the ongoing absences due to actual illness, the delays are compounded. Certainly, the high volume of real estate during the summer of 2021 compounded the delays. Now that the volume is back to more normal levels, we have not seen any decrease in the registration delays and in fact they continue to increase.
Fortunately, Land Titles has implemented a new system where documents are entered in the queue as soon as they are received. This means a user can search the system to determine whether any documents are in the queue that affect their particular title.
Despite the significant delays in actual registration, a combination of the registration queue, the Law Society conveyancing protocol and the use of title insurance allows real estate deals to close on time as scheduled. We have seen a steady increase in the use of title insurance over the years and it is now used on almost every deal assist in achieving a timely closing. If you are looking at either purchasing a new home or placing a new mortgage, you should include title insurance in your budget. Typically, the costs are $200 for an entry level home. The price rises as the purchase price of the property goes up. The use of title insurance allows us to release the purchase money to the seller at the time of closing even though registration is likely three months in the future.
During this unprecedented time, purchasers can expect they will be residing in their new home for 3 months before they become the actual proud owners of that property.