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What Are You Buying - Check Title

Q -  We just found out that we can't build a workshop on our property because of a Statutory Right of Way.  How could we have found this out beforehand? 

A - If you didn't plan to build a workshop at the time of the purchase, any restrictions that were attached to the property may not have caught your attention.  In Canada, a real estate agent normally obtains the title to the property you are purchasing.  This title tells you exactly what you are purchasing.  It lists all the charges -- removable and not removable.  One of the charges that is not removable is a Statutory Right of Way.  Often a SRW is in favor of a local government or a utility company so that they can enter your property and do the necessary work that may be required.  A building on that SRW would restrict access.  Or, another possibility is a Covenant or Restrictive Covenant which restricts what you can do with your property.

Your lawyer also obtains a copy of the title and reviews the contents with the client.

If you did not have a workshop in mind at that time of the purchase and you did not mention the workshop to either your real estate agent or your lawyer, they may have reviewed the title with you without placing any particular emphasis on any of the charges. Because you were not thinking of building a workshop, these issues may not have seemed important at the time.

The contract of purchase and sale normally has a clause whereby the buyer has the opportunity to review the contents of the title and approve such content before removing this condition.  If the buyer does not approve of all the contents of the title and does not remove this condition, the contract of purchase and sale comes to an end.

It is important to listen very carefully to your lawyer's explanations of the items on the title and ask questions to clarify any points that are not clear.  The title to the property describes exactly what you are buying and what you can do with it.

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