What is a Real Property Report?
A Real Property Report (an “RPR”) is a survey of a parcel of land, completed by an Alberta Land Surveyor, which shows the location of a house, outbuildings, fences and other structures on the parcel, relative to the surveyed property lines. An RPR is completed in accordance with the Alberta Land Surveyors Association standards of practice.
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An RPR will show the location of any structures which are permanently attached to the land or to the house located on the property. It will also show the location of any Utility Rights of Way (“URW”), Overland Drainage Rights of Way (“ODRW”), Maintenance Rights of Way, or any other municipal rights of way which are located on the land.
A “permanently attached structure” means any structure on the property which is attached to the house on the property or cannot be moved with ordinary effort. A deck attached to a house will be shown on an RPR.
A poured concrete patio would be marked on an RPR, while a patio made of paving stones may not show, as it could be picked up and moved to a new location, or taken away entirely. A shed may or may not be shown on an RPR, depending on its size or its location. A shed larger than 100 square feet is noted on the RPR, as is a shed of any size that has been installed on a concrete foundation, or one that has been constructed within 1.20m of a property line or on a URW or ODRW.
Current City of Calgary bylaws also require that window wells and air-conditioning compressors must also be shown on RPR’s as they are structures which are permanently attached to the property.
Fences must be marked on an RPR if they are within 20cm of a property line. Fences show the perceived boundaries of a property, regardless of which who constructed it.
Structures which encroach into URW’s or ODRW’s must be marked on an RPR, notwithstanding the size or type of construction of the structure. Any structures which encroach into City of Calgary property must also be marked on an RPR. Structures such as retaining walls, fences or planters which extend to the back edge of a sidewalk are most likely encroaching into City property as there is often a strip of land, which the City has reserved as a URW, between the back of the sidewalk and the surveyed property line.
Do I need an updated Real Property Report when selling my house?
The current requirement in the standard Alberta Real Estate Association purchase and sale contract mandates that the seller of property must provide a “current” Real Property Report, with a Certificate of municipal compliance to the buyer at least 10 days before the purchase and sale transaction closes.
A “current” RPR has been interpreted by the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta) Real Property Section to mean one that shows the current state of improvements on the land, and may not be current with respect to time. A 15 year old RPR may be acceptable, if all of the structures on the land are shown on the RPR and nothing has been added. A 1 year old RPR may not be current if fences, decks, patios, etc. have been built since the RPR was issued. An RPR is deemed to be current if the only change on the property is the removal of a structure; if the structure does not exist any longer, it cannot possibly encroach on any URW, ODRW or property line setback.
If you have built any new permanent structures on the land after you purchased the property, you will most likely need an updated RPR. If you have built a deck, a fence, a patio, retaining walls, flower boxes, etc., or have installed central air conditioning, you should seek legal advice as to whether you need an updated RPR or not. If your neighbour built a fence on, or near, the property line, you should also seek legal advice as to whether you need a new RPR or not.
What is a Certificate of Municipal Compliance?
A Certificate of Municipal Compliance (a “Compliance Certificate”) is a statement from the local municipality that the structures on the property have been constructed in accordance with the relevant planning bylaw. This means that the buildings have been constructed within the appropriate setbacks from property lines, or that no structures have been built on URW’s, ODRW’s, or other rights of way and are in compliance with other planning bylaw requirements.
Once an RPR has been commissioned and completed, the RPR is then submitted to the municipalities Planning Office, either by the seller or by the surveyor, with a request that the municipality endorse the RPR with a Compliance Certificate. The municipality will provide a Compliance Certificate if all of the structures attached to the land, or the buildings on the land, are constructed in accordance with the relevant planning bylaws.
If the structures on the property do not comply with the planning bylaws, the request for an RPR will be rejected with a request that the seller either remove the offending structure, or apply for consent from the municipality that the structure can remain. A municipality may require that the seller enter into an Encroachment Agreement (for a fee) to obtain municipal permission to retain the structure, or that the seller obtain a Development Permit for the offending structure (also for a fee). In some cases, the municipality may deny any application for relief and will require the offending structure to be removed.
For this reason, an updated RPR must be obtained well before the closing date in the contract so that the issues can be addressed, and remedied, before the closing date.
Please contact CAMERON HORNE LAW OFFICE if you have any questions about your current RPR.