Certificate of Title in Alberta

What You Need to Know About Land Titles Certificates

Anna Dunaeva DLegal Anna Dunaeva August 29, 2022
DLegal Law Office - land

Certificate of Title

Whether you are dealing with a house, condo, or acreage, a certificate of title is an essential document you should be aware of as a new or current property owner. That’s because Alberta land titles certify or confirm the owner of real property.

The document lays out detailed information about the property, including registered interests like debts or liens on the property, which might impact your decision to buy, sell or change ownership. Therefore, it is in your best interest to gain an understanding of the information contained in this document so you can avoid any setbacks or surprises.

What is a Certificate of Title in Alberta

A certificate of title in Alberta is an official government-issued document that provides proof of a land owner’s right of ownership. The rights on a certificate of title can be surface which includes the land itself, or mineral rights which include any inorganic substances found on the property, or both.

All certificates of title in Alberta are held by the Alberta Land Titles Office and contain standard information and registered interests, which might include the current owner, mortgages, caveats, easements, liens, and more. To remove or add someone to your home or property ownership, you will need to apply with Alberta Land Titles Office.

Who Holds the Alberta Land Title Certificate?

The Land Titles Act in Alberta gives authority to the Land Titles Office to cancel, create and transfer certificates of title as well as house all registered plans, titles, and related documents.

The Alberta Land Titles Office is operated under the Torrens title system. This Torrens title system is a land registration and land transfer system where the province creates and maintains a register of land holdings, meaning that all documents are held by the Alberta LTO so that they can always be found and there is no fear of misplacing them. However, they are publicly owned and accessible by the general population by filling out a form and producing a small fee.

What Information Is On a Certificate of Title

The same standard information is contained on each current land title. An Albertan certificate of title includes the following fields:

  1. Registered owner or owners of the property in question;
  2. Status of land ownership. These include sole ownership, tenancy-in-common, or joint tenancy;
  3. Address for notice for the owner;
  4. Date of the certificate;
  5. Legal description, which includes mineral rights, if any;
  6. Last date the ownership was transferred on;
  7. Declared value of the land when it was last transferred;
  8. Municipality the land is located within;
  9. All current land title registrations on that title, which can be found via the DRR or Document Registration Number;

Note that a historical title or canceled historical title will have slightly more fields.

What can be registered on Alberta land titles?

There is a wide range of encumbrances that can appear on your certificate of title. These can include the following:

  1. Mortgages, which will be registered with your title certificate until it is discharged if there is no balance remaining to the bank or lender;
  2. Restrictive covenants, which are designed to limit types of development or land uses. It can include orders to maintain a certain aesthetic or what types of activities can take place on that parcel of land;
  3. Caveats, being are a stipulation or condition attached to the land titles. These can include caveats such as assignments of rent, debts, and more;
  4. Utility rights or overland water drainage right of way, which indicates that a power company or municipality has the right to maintain utilities on your land;
  5. Encroachment and Easement Agreements referring to a part of a structure where there is an encroachment on a property line or where there is shared use of property, such as a wall in a party wall agreement. A party wall agreement applies to properties that share a wall with another land owner. This includes townhouses and duplexes.
  6. Airport Zoning Regulations, which can impact how tall buildings are or how tall greenery can grow;
  7. Homeowner Associations, which can be registered with your title to help enforce compliance with association rules and fees;
  8. Dower Release;
  9. Certificate of Lis Pendens or Writ relating to lawsuits. It demonstrates that there is ongoing litigation or that a verdict has been reached against the owner;
  10. Builders Lien, being is a claim for payment that is applied when a contractor has not been paid for products or services when related to work performed at a property;
  11. Tax Notifications, which are registered when the property owner defaults on taxes owed to the government;
  12. Public Health Notices indicating issues that might affect the health of land users. This can include bad drinking water and other health hazards;

Not all Alberta land title certificates will have registered interests. However, you should be mindful of the ones that do. Keep in mind that some registered interests such as mortgages, certificates of lis pendens, or writs must be taken off the land title certificate before they can be passed to another name.

At any time, a power of attorney can be added to the land title certificate. This gives the signing authority on a certificate of title to someone other than the owner. This might be a caretaker, guardian, or lawyer.

Types of Land Titles Searches

The are a number of different land title searches you can do. First is a land title search for a current certificate of title. This will show who the current owners of the land are, the legal land description and the like, as well as all registered instruments against the land, including caveats, zoning rights, right of way, mortgages, and more.

You can also perform a registered land titles document search if you would like to secure a copy of these individual documents. Give the registration number located on your current certificate of title to the Land Title Office to find the registered documents you need.

You can also perform a search for historical titles. Historical titles will show all current land title information as well as the history of all registration interests, including those that have been dropped. A historical title search is helpful if you want to learn the history of your parcel of land, and previous ownership, including if you have or have not been an owner in the past.

The Alberta Land Titles has been computerizing their records since 1988. So, in most cases, a land title search is relatively quick. Often, they will take a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on how busy LTO is. However, if you are looking for a historical land title that has not been entered into the system, a special request will be made, and the document will be sent to you once it has been located.

Transferring a Title in Alberta

To transfer land titles in Alberta, you will need to do a land title search to confirm ownership, mortgages, or other registered interests on the property. After which, you can draft the transfer of land title, affidavit of value for land titles fees, and affidavit of a witness for land title transfer. If required, a dower consent or dower release to transfer the land will also be drafted at this time before submitting the documents to the Alberta Land Titles. The Land Titles Office requires a fee for this service.

Most people prefer to work with real estate lawyers to update a land title. This is best if you want to avoid errors, additional costs, and delays in changing names or gathering more information on a land title.

DLegal real estate lawyers assist with land title changes and understand the intricacies of the transfer of land process regardless of your type of real estate and reasons for changing the title. We are here to discuss and change the names on your land title, remove of caveat or register an instrument without delays. Get in touch to get started today.

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