December 5, 2023

What is a certificate of location?

Buying or selling a property can be complicated. There’s a lot to do and many important documents to provide, including the certificate of location.Read on to learn more about what information is included in the certificate, how long it is valid for and how much it costs.

What is a certificate of location?

According to the Land Surveyors Act, a certificate of location is a legal document that includes a report and a plan in which a land surveyor states their opinion on the current situation and condition of a property in relation to the title deeds, cadastre, and any by-laws and regulations that may affect it.[1] The certificate guarantees that the property complies with regulations and by-laws. It may also reveal irregularities about the property to protect all parties involved in the real estate transaction.

The certificate of location includes the following information:[2]

  • Description of the land
  • Servitudes (e.g., right of way)
  • Encroachments
  • Restrictions (e.g., agricultural or flood zone)
  • Compliance with municipal by-laws and other legislation

A certificate of location is valid for 10 years, even if it accurately describes the current condition of the property.[3] In Quebec, only members of the Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec (OAGQ) are authorized to produce a certificate of location.

Is a certificate of location mandatory?

The notary requires a certificate of location to complete their analysis. It is therefore mandatory for all real estate transactions. The certificate of location protects both the buyer and the seller, as they will both be made aware of important information regarding the condition of the property.

It should be noted that purchasing title insurance does not release a seller from their obligation to provide an up-to-date certificate of location, regardless of whether the property is subject to a secured loan such as a mortgage.[4]

How much does a certificate of location cost?

A certificate of location costs about $1,500 (the price suggested by the OAGQ). However, the exact price may vary. Usually, the seller covers the cost of the certificate, but if the buyer requires a new certificate in the promise to purchase and there have been no changes to the property, the buyer must pay for the new certificate.[5]

How long does it take to get?

As a general rule, it takes a land surveyor four to six weeks to draw up a certificate of location. However, this timeframe can vary depending on the market. The plan and report must be submitted to the notary at least 20 days before the deed of sale is signed so they have time to review it.[6]

Need to consult an expert for your real estate transaction? Team up with a real estate broker. They’ll be able to recommend a building inspector, land surveyor or notary so you can buy or sell with peace of mind.

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See also:

Everything you need to know about selling without a legal warranty

How to make an offer on a home

Legal hypothecs: understand them and… watch out for them!

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