the real/estate blog


A road to nowhere

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on July 5, 2013
Tags: , , ,

In 1985, Veikko KivikRoadangas subdivided a parcel of waterfront land he owned in Sudbury into three lots. One had direct road access; the others were given a right-of-way over each of the other pieces in order to access their lands. There had long been a gravel road over the properties, and Kivikangas instructed his surveyor to show the right-of-way in the same place as the gravel road. Unfortunately, the surveyor made an error and put the right-of-way over a rock outcrop; where it actually would have been on the ground would be unusable, making the two back pieces landlocked.

When this all came to light, naturally because of a neighbour dispute, the owners of the two back lots sued to have the right-of-way description legally changed to match what was on the ground. After a long court case, and an appeal, the court released its decision in February of this year and corrected the survey.

The decision was the right one to make, but the court made an unusual statement in coming to it: there is no guarantee of boundaries under the Land Titles System. When you buy a property, you buy something, but there is no guarantee that what is on the ground is actually what you thought you were buying. The lesson to take away is that surveys are once again very valuable; whether they come back into favour before the closing remains to be seen, but a new survey showing what is actually there to compare with what is on paper is the only way to be sure you are buying what you think you are.

Advertisements

Happy long weekend!

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on June 28, 2013
Tags: ,

The Canada DCanadian flag 2ay long weekend is rapidly approaching here in the great white north. I’m looking forward to a nice break, filled with the first birthday party for my friend’s son, at least one barbeque and definitely some fireworks on Monday night. What I’m not looking forward to is the increased amount of fraud attempts that will be directed at my law firm.

The Avoid a Claim Blog regularly reports on frauds targeted at lawyers. Because we have trust accounts, we are frequent targets of people trying to turn bad money into good. The most regular fraud targeted at real estate lawyers is that of a matter that must be dealt with in a hurry, right before a long weekend; this gives the fraudster an extra day to try to get away with the good money.

At the best of times, it’s not much fun to have a rush deal come in to your office. Before long weekends especially, don’t expect anyone to be willing to take it on.

When is a house a matrimonial home?

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on June 21, 2013
Tags: , ,

In Ontario, the Family Law Act rules state exactly when a home becomes a matrimonial home: the day you get married, if you are living there. In order to be a matrimonial home, it must be your ordinary residence. Your house could be a matrimonial home; so can your ski chalet or your cottage, as well as your winter home in Florida. Which one is at any given time will depend on what you consider it to be….as well as what your spouse thinks.

There are a whole hWedding ringsost of family law issues that come into play if you separate, but what I am writing about today is whether you need spousal consent to sell or mortgage your house. Even if you are the only one on title, if you have spent any time living there in the past year with your legally married spouse (this rule does not count for common law couples), your spouse may need to agree to anything happening with the house. So get that agreement in place before you list it.

Pay your taxes

Posted in Real Estate,Tax by Cesia Green on June 14, 2013
Tags: , ,

Most people aren’t aware of this, but if you don’t pay your municipal property taxes, the city or town has the right to sell your house out from under you.

Keep in mind that justTaxes because they can, doesn’t mean they necessarily will. First, the municipality cannot start the process until the third year after the taxes are due (the second year in the case of vacant land). Second, after the process is started, you have a full year to repay the taxes owing, after which it is cleared and they cannot sell your home. The municipality can also extend that year, so you can effectively have a grace period before they start enforcement. However, if you don’t pay, they can put your house up in a tax sale, and accept an offer from the highest bidder. And this is final – all you are entitled to is any profit above what is owed on taxes, your mortgage or any other amount owing against the land, and the municipality is not required to accept the highest or best price or inquire into property values.You can check out the Municipal Tax Sales Act here.

Cutting ties

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 31, 2013
Tags: , , ,

What happeCutting ribbonns when you own a property jointly with someone, and don’t want to share any more?

Your kindergarten teacher probably wouldn’t be happy, but technically, you can sever a joint tenancy without any notice to the other parties. Basically, you do a transfer from yourself to yourself, with a statement that it is being done to sever the joint tenancy. The other person won’t find out unless they decide to look. Possibly not the best surprise to leave someone, but sometimes it is important to make sure that your share goes where you want it to go.

Specific performance

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 24, 2013
Tags: ,

You put in an offer and it was accepted, but some time before the closing date, the seller decided not to complete the deal. Can you sue to make them sell you the property?

In Ontario, there is a concept called “specific performance” which, essentially, means that you are looking to have the contract fulfilled rather than get compensated for your loss. Specific performance, however, is not an easy thing to get. Generally, courts prefer to award damages (that must be proven) rather than force specific performance. Specific performance will usually only be ordered when the property is so unique that it would be impossible to find something similar. As always, consult a litigation lawyer before assuming that you can get the house in the end.

Buying a rental

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 10, 2013
Tags: , ,

I have written beforeHot water heater about assuming a hot water heater rental contract with your new house. Today’s question: do you want to?

Before you automatically agree to assume the contract, you might want to take a look at the wording of it. Sometimes it makes more sense to enter into a new contract with a new provider, or to buy a hot water heater rather than renting one. Regardless of what you choose to do, it will be a better choice if it is informed.

Cutting ties

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 3, 2013
Tags: , , ,

What happens when you own a property jointly with someone, and don’t want to share any more?

Your kindergarten teacher probably wouldn’t be happy, but technically, you can sever a joint tenancy without any notice to the other person. Basically, you do a transfer from yourself to yourself, with a statement that it is being done to sever the joint tenancy. The other person won’t find out unless they decide to look. Possibly not the best surprise to leave someone, but sometimes it is important to make sure that your share goes where you want it to go.

HST rebates

Posted in Real Estate,Tax by Cesia Green on April 26, 2013
Tags: , , , ,

Here’s another tax-relNew houseated post for near tax time: HST rebates on a new home. If you are buying a brand-new home, you are entitled to a rebate, but only in specific circumstances:

  1. You must intend to live in it as your primary home. It can’t be a cottage or other seasonal residence.
  2. If you are not going to live there, an immediate family member of yours (or of your spouse’s) must intend to live there. You can rent it to your brother and get the rebate, but you can’t rent it to a friend.

If you meet these requirements, you can save a significant amount in taxes.

If a tree falls….

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on April 19, 2013
Tags: ,

Earth Day is right aroHouses and treesund the corner, so here is a question along environmental lines: If a tree falls in your yard, who has to pay for its removal?

A tree belongs to the property owner whose land the trunk is on. If it straddles two properties, it belongs to both owners. Any owner of the tree can trim branches on their property; this is also true even if the trunk is on your neighbour’s property, but the roots or branches extend onto your side (as long as you don’t harm the tree). Be aware that you have to stay on your own property to do this.

If a tree from your neighbour’s yard falls into your yard, who pays for the damage depends on the situation before the tree fell. If it was a healthy tree, you probably are stuck paying yourself as your neighbour would have had no way of knowing that the tree was at risk of falling. If the tree was dying or damaged, however, and if you had warned your neighbour to take it down, you may be able to recover some of the cost from your neighbour.

Next Page »