As we have discussed in prior blog articles (and many clients/realtors/brokers who work with us will know), we frequently review documents and title for clients prior to them removing conditions to ensure they’re aware of, and comfortable with, the circumstances of their intended property. In the course of that review, we usually pull the registered charges and notations on a property (some of which have been specifically discussed in prior articles) as well as the subdivision or strata plan that was filed to create title to the property and have our clients review and confirm the location of their intended property.
Survey certificates and subdivision plans are two documents that sometimes cause some confusion for property purchasers. During our due diligence process, we will often pull the subdivision or strata plan for the purchaser to review as well as ask the purchaser and their realtor if there is a survey certificate available for us to review. This article will provide a brief overview of the difference between these two documents which can sometimes be confused by sellers and purchasers.
A subdivision plan is the plan that gets filed with the applicable Land Title Office in British Columbia to create the property that is being considered. The Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia refers to a “land survey plan” as follows (https://ltsa.ca/property-info/land-survey-plans):
A land survey plan – such as a subdivision plan, reference plan, posting plan, air space plan or strata plan – represents pictorially the legal boundaries and dimensions of a surveyed parcel of land, and identifies the type and location of monuments or survey posts set in the ground to define the boundaries of the parcel.
In the normal course of our practice, in the context of this article, we are reviewing a subdivision plan that is associated with the legal description of a particular property. That plan, when filed with the Land Title Office, resulted in the legal title the client is looking to purchase. Given that situation, the subdivision plan is a point in time image of the property dimensions and boundaries associated with that legal description.
A survey certificate, on the other hand, is a document that shows the lot boundaries, improvement locations and often the locations of any rights of ways or easements registered against the property. This will also assist a purchaser in determining whether any of the improvements on the property encroach on a neighbouring property or if there are improvements from an adjacent property that encroach on the subject property. The cost of a survey varies but is a small price to pay to determine the true boundaries and location of improvements on what, for many people, is the most expensive single purchase they ever make. There is an association in British Columbia that regulates land surveyors to ensure certain standards are met. If you would like more information on having a survey completed, the Association can be found here: https://abcls.ca/land-surveying-in-bc/find-land-surveyor/.
In a prior article, we have discussed the benefits of survey certificates as well as the application of title insurance in some survey related situations. This article can be found here if you would like to review:
Author: Una Gabie
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250) 448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing real estate law at the following:Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Danielle (Dani) Brito: firstname.lastname@example.org Jane Otterstrom: email@example.com Sasha Platz: firstname.lastname@example.org