Is Your Certificate of Location Up-to-Date?
Are you thinking of selling this year? Time to dig out that certificate of location. In fact, it’s the most important document required when listing your home for sale and it must be updated every 10 years.
Due to the extremely high volume of sales and a shortage of available land surveyors in Quebec, we are currently seeing a 4-5 month delay in order to have a new certificate of location prepared. This can create a big issue for potential sellers who may need to move in 30, 60 or even 90 days.
It is the Seller’s responsibility to provide a valid certificate of location (COL for short) describing the current state of the premises. The cost of a new COL is approximately $1,300. Most notaries will advise buyers not to sign a deed of sale before having reviewed a valid COL.
The COL not only covers the physical condition of the premises (property lines, hedges, swimming pool, shed, fence and servitudes etc...) but also the changes in regulations that may affect the findings made in the certificate of location. For example, a change in zoning regulations such as properties located within a flood zone or changes to municipal by-laws that may affect the conformity of a home, shed or garage. The certificate of location must also reflect any cadastral renovation even if the only change is the lot number.
Pursuant to the Land Surveyors Act, which is under provincial jurisdiction, a certificate of location is described as:
"A document consisting of a report and a plan, stating the land surveyor's opinion on the current situation and state of immovable property in relation to ownership titles, the cadastre and the laws, regulations and by-laws which may affect it."
If you are thinking of selling in the next 6-12 months, we highly recommend you get out your current COL and review it with a real estate broker or notary to check whether it’s still valid. If a new one is required, you should order it ASAP so that this does not cause a delay when it comes time to sell. If you’ve added a pool, deck or shed or if you bought your home more than 10 years ago, you are legally required to provide a new one.
It is important to take into account the time period required for its preparation – approximately 4-5 months in Quebec, and the fact that the buyer’s notary will want to take a look at it at least 20 days prior to the signing of the deed of sale. Don’t wait until the last minute.
If you’d like us to have a look at your COL and advise you on the right steps to take, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always here to help.