In our real estate practice, we frequently get asked by our clients when they will receive the “title deed” or “title” to their property. Historically, a title deed was a much more specific, one-of-a-kind document that required safe keeping. With the implementation of the Torrens system in BC, and the move to electronic records, the Land Title and Survey Authority in British Columbia (“LTSA”) now maintains the land ownership records for all freehold land in British Columbia and has for quite some time. Currently, there is no such thing as a title deed that requires safekeeping because it is a one of a kind document. Rather, a document called a “State of Title Certificate” can be ordered at any time from the LTSA that shows the legal owner of a specific property, the registered notations, charges, liens and encumbrances, as well as any pending registrations (along with other information).
A State of Title Certificate is issued electronically from the LTSA and can be obtained through various sources, including through a lawyer or notary, by mail or by applying for an LTSA account. There are various sections to a State of Title Certificate including the details of the registered owner of the land (in fee simple), the legal description of the property (which is different from the civic address the property may more generally be known by), the registered notations, charges, liens and encumbrances, as well as an indication of whether a duplicate indefeasible title has been issued, any pending transfer or pending applications. As well, the State of Title Certificate will include a notation of the date/time that is has been certified as correct by the Land Title Office.
Typically, when a file has been completed (specifically a purchase or refinance file where the client owns the property), a State of Title Certificate will be obtained by the lawyer or notary representing the buyer or borrower and provided to both the owner of the property and their lender (if any) as certification that the expected transfers, registrations and discharges have been completed. This can take some time after the transaction as any mortgages on title (or other charges) related to the seller’s ownership (mortgages, judgments, etc.) or the borrower’s prior financial registrations would need to be paid out and released from title following the completion of the transaction. This can take up to 60 days (and sometimes longer) to complete in the normal course.
The cost to obtain a State of Title Certificate will depend on the fee charged by the party engaged to complete the order but the statutory cost charged by the LTSA is $15.26.
Author: Una Kuzio
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 in the area of wills and estates at the following:
Una Kuzio: Una@touchstone.law