A checkup for an immovable
The definition in the Lexicon of the Order of Land Surveyors of Quebec summarizes very well what constitutes the location certificate; it is a (free translation):
Document in minute comprising a report and a plan, in which the land surveyor expresses his opinion on the current situation and condition of a property in relation to the title deeds, the cadastre, as well as the laws and regulations that may affect the property. It cannot be used for purposes other than those for which it is intended. It is the “state of health” of a building before investing savings and a complementary document of title deeds. It is useful for the investor, the owner, the courts and the municipalities. (Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec, Lexicon section of the website, definition of “location certificate”, consulted on September 21, 2021)
What does it show exactly?
The preparation of the location certificate is governed by the Regulation respecting the standard of practice for location certificates (CQLR, c. A-23, r. 10). Article 9 of said regulation provides that 23 elements are required in the report of the location certificate, such as:
- The current description of the building in terms of land identification, linear measurements and area;
- The reference to the last deed of acquisition published concerning the immovable under study;
- The mention of concordance or discrepancy between the position of the limits and measurements deduced from the marks of occupation on the ground with those deduced from the title deeds and those deduced from the official cadastre;
- The presence of encroachment, suffered or exercised;
- Compliance or deviation of structures, buildings and outbuildings (e.g. house, shed, garage, gallery, swimming pool) according to municipal regulations currently in force, with regard to the relative location of structures in relation to property lines (setbacks);
- The subjugation of the building to a limitation of private law, such as a servitude;
- The subjugation of the building to a limitation of public law, such as zones of protection against floods or landslides.
Article 13 of the regulations provides for the presence of certain elements in the plan, including in particular:
- The graphic representation of the boundaries of the land as well as the dimensions and area of the property;
- The graphic representation of structures, buildings and occupancy marks relating to property lines;
- The dimensions of structures and buildings as well as the separating distances between them and the property lines;
- The illustration, when possible, of any observations mentioned in the report that affect the land, such as a servitude.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my location certificate still good?
Since a certificate of location is a health check of a property on a given date, its content is always valid or good with respect to that given date. Nevertheless, the situation of a land is generally dynamic over time so that new structures are built, others are removed, both on your land and on your neighbor’s. As soon as an element on the ground changes, the old certificate ceases to reflect reality and no longer guarantees a buyer, for example, that the situation is compliant or not. In addition, municipal by-laws also change, which does not have the effect of rendering a structure non-compliant, but which generally implies that the buyer will have to find evidence of the conformity of this structure in the event of a reprimand / complaint based on current regulations. Thus, an old location certifiacte generally becomes obsolete after a few years since the level of uncertainty regarding the current situation of the property, then high, justifies the preparation of a new checkup.
When should I obtain a new location certifiate?
As mentioned in the last question, the location certifiacte guarantees the situation of the property on a given date, but nothing subsequently. Thus, having a location certificate made too early so that the situation has time to change before it will be used causes the document to become obsolete, because it no longer reflects current reality. It is therefore recommended to wait until sale process has actually started.
Who has to pay for a new location certifiate?
The Civil Code of Quebec states that:
1719. The seller is bound to hand over to the buyer the titles of ownership in his possession and, in the case of the sale of an immovable, a copy of the act of acquisition of the immovable, of any previous titles and of any location certificate in his possession.
This is generally the norm in the market, but any other arrangement is possible.
I need a certified copy of the original of my location certificate, how much does it cost?
L’Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec provides the answer to this question on their website:
In accordance with section 62 of the Land Surveyors Act, the board of directors has set at $ 230.00 the minimum remuneration of the land surveyor to communicate or send copies or extracts of the minutes that are part of his registry or of the records of which he is the assignee or custodian, to the person who requested the work performed, as well as to the successors of this person.