Soon after your deal closes, we send you a preliminary report. This is usually done within two weeks of the closing. The report will include a Copy of Title showing you as the new registered owner. We will also include copies of other relevant documents such as the Real Property Report (RPR) in the case of a house or the Estoppel Certificate in the case of a condominium. If the previous owner had a mortgage on title, it will still show up on the title sent to you with the preliminary report. It can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months before we receive an updated title from the seller’s lawyer showing the discharge of the seller’s mortgage or other registrations. Once we receive the updated title, we will provide both you and your mortgage lender with a copy.
An RPR is just that. It is a complete report on the land you are buying completed by an Alberta Land Surveyor. It will show all property boundaries, the location and description of all structures on the land and the location of all boundary fencing. It will also show non-structural items such as a utility right-of-way and encroachments from neighboring properties. A standard Alberta Real Estate Purchase Contract requires the seller to produce a current RPR complete with evidence of compliance at the seller’s expense. In this case, current includes any RPR prepared since 1996 (when the standards changed), so long as there have been no additions or alterations to any of the structures on the property. If boundary fencing has been added since the RPR was created, the seller will must provide an updated report. If a ground cover item is added, the seller is not required to provide an updated report. This would incude portable/moveable sheds, concrete patios or decks that are less than 0.60 metres (24”) off the ground. Whenever possible, have a look at the RPR along with your realtor before removing conditions. If you have concerns, let one of our team look at the RPR.
The RPR must be accompanied by either a Compliance stamp from the local municipality or a covering letter from the municipality stating everything is acceptable. This provides proof that development permits are in place for all structures on the property. Many issues can arise where no development permit is in place. For example, it may not be possible to obtain a development permit for certain structures. Or, the seller can obtain a development permit and then turn it over to you. The seller has no obligation to obtain a building permit. You can then be left with the burden of finalizing the building permit and curing any deficiencies with the building code. A development permit allows the structure based on zoning regulations. A building permit allows the structure based on building code requirements. For example, a covered patio may be allowed in your neighborhood and a development permit will be issued. However, if that covered patio does not have sufficient roof beams and support pillars sunk in concrete below the frost level, it may have to be torn down. One potential remedy for deficiencies in this area is the use of title insurance. This can be used where no RPR is available or where certain deficiencies can be avoided through the use of title insurance.