When we purchased the our new house in Ottawa, we were unable to obtain a Real Property Survey from the vendor. A real property survey is essential to ensure that there are no issues preventing us from having clear ownership of the property.
Now we know that the vendor must have had a survey done in the past, because they undertook extensive renovations in 1980, and they would have been required to submit a survey to the city in order to obtain their permits. However, we checked with the city and with the Ontario Land Registry Office and we could find nothing.
At the Ontario Land Registry Office, you can do a quick computer search of any property to see if a survey has been registered in the past. If one is registered, then for a small fee, you can obtain a print-out of the survey. However, apparently, while most surveys today are registered with the Land Registy Office, it was not necessarily common practice 30 years ago. Add to that the complications of Ottawa amalgamating with several surrounding communities a few years back and, well, let's just say things fall through the cracks. Either way, there was no survey on record for our property.
So, with no survey in hand, we followed our lawyers recommendation and purchased title insurance. Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects residential or commercial property owners and their lenders against losses related to the property’s title or ownership. It protects against a wide range of title related issues that could affect our ability to sell the property in the future, including unknown title defects, liens against the property, encroachment issues, title fraud, and errors in previous surveys or public documents.
Title insurance is pricey. Our one-time premium, plus lawyers fees and tax came to $378.10. Still, it's well worth the piece of mind.