Land Titles Registration Fees

Because of the October 2019 provincial budget, the Land Titles Office (the “LTO”) will collect higher fees for the registration of Transfers of Land (“Transfer”) and mortgages, which are recorded after January 1, 2020.  The most significant registration fees increase will be borne by buyers who, under the standard form of Real Estate Purchase Contract, are responsible for the payment of these fees (in addition to their own legal fees).

Prior to January 1, 2020, the registration fee collected by the LTO for both a Transfer and a mortgage was calculated as follows:

$50 + $1.00 per $5,000 of declared, or registered, value

This meant that the registration of a Transfer for a parcel of land and building worth $500,000 would cost the buyer $150.  Assuming, for this purpose, a mortgage of $400,000 (i.e. 20% down), the mortgage registration would be charged an LTO fee of $130.  The total registration fees paid by the buyers would then be $280.

However, and effective as of January 1, 2020, the provincial budget has changed the formula that the LTO will charge for the registration of Transfers and mortgages.  The LTO will now charge registration fees based on the following formulae:

Transfer:              $50 + $2.00 per $5,000 of declared value

Mortgage:           $50 + $1.50 per $5,000 of registered value

Using the hypothetical purchase described above ($500,000 purchase price, with a $400,000 mortgage) the new registration costs will be $250 for the Transfer and $170 for the mortgage.  The total registration fees paid by the buyers will now be $420, or an increase of $140.

Unfortunately, the buyer of property in Alberta will now pay a further premium when purchasing property, and those increased LTO fees will be reflected in the amount buyers will pay their legal counsel.  This should not be seen as a fee-grab by lawyers, but a reflection of the fact that most, if not all, real estate lawyers pay these LTO fees on behalf of their clients, and will then recover them from their buyer clients, so as to not be out-of-pocket.

While this budgeted increase is somewhat startling, as the LTO has not increased their registration fees since around 2011, our Land Title registration fees are still remarkably low compared with other provinces. We do appreciate that every dollar spent toward the purchase of a property comes from the buyers pocket, but we provide, for interest sake, a list of the registration fees, or land transfer taxes, charged by other provinces for the same $500,000 land value, with a $400,000 mortgage, all of which are paid by buyers of property.  Alberta’s LTO fees are about 75% lower than the next lowest province (Saskatchewan) below the 60th parallel, and are still around ½ of the fees charged in the North:


AB: $420.00
BC: $8,000.00
SK: $1,650.00
MB: $7,720.00
ON: $6,475.00
Toronto: $12,950.00
QC: $6,000.00
Montreal: $9,750.00
NB: $5,000.00
NS: $2,500.00 – $7,500.00
(depending on municipality)
PEI: $5,000.00
NL: $1,700.00
NU: $750.00
NWT: $750.00
YT: $870.00


Our office will be adjusting the fees charged to purchasers of property to reflect the increased LTO fees and will be posting those changes soon.  Please feel free to call to receive a quote for your purchase file.

Read More

Negotiate a Pre-possession Walkthrough to Prevent Surprises on Closing Day

Most home buyers are unaware that a pre-possession walkthrough is not a right that is automatically granted in the contract to buyers.  Typically, it is only after the money is released to the seller on the closing date that the buyer gets the keys to property to inspect their new home and ensure it is in the same condition as it was on the day they signed the contract.

Inserting a clause into the purchase and sale contract to give buyers access to walkthrough the property the day before possession can be beneficial to the buyer.  The seller’s may not always agree to a pre-possession walkthrough but it is always worth a try.  The buyer should ensure that the walkthrough is scheduled the day before possession and not the morning of possession, if possible.

Scheduling a walkthrough the morning of possession creates a tight timeline for the buyer’s lawyer as the lawyer has to ensure that the funds to purchase the property are at the seller’s lawyer’s office no later than noon on the possession day.  If the purchase funds are delivered after noon, interest may be payable by the buyer.  It may be difficult for the buyer’s lawyer to ensure timely delivery of the funds if buyers are not walking through the property until 11:00 a.m. on the possession day.

If a problem in discovered at the pre-possession walkthrough, the buyer cannot demand that funds be held back for a minor breach of contract.  However, the buyer is given greater bargaining power if they are made aware of any minor breaches of contract the day before closing and prior to the release of money to the seller.  The buyer’s lawyer can contact seller’s lawyer to advise that an item is missing or the drywall has been damaged, for example, and the lawyers can attempt to negotiate a holdback as funds have not yet been released to seller.  However, there is no guarantee a holdback will be granted if it has not contemplated in the contract.

A pre-possession walkthrough is also beneficial when the seller is required under the contract to repair the property, to have the professionally cleaned, or any other terms that have been added to the contract.  Additional terms should be inserted into the contract for a holdback in the event that cleaning or repairs are not completed by possession day.   There should also be a requirement in the contract for the seller to provide the buyer with invoices for the repairs or professional cleaning in order to provide confirmation that the items have been completed.

In the event that a pre-possession walkthrough is not negotiated in the contract and a problem arises due to minor breach of contract after money has been released to seller than the buyer is in a much less favourable position and, typically, the buyer’s only recourse is to sue the seller for breach of contract.  The cost of suing may be more expensive and time-consuming than worth it but a pre-possession walkthrough may help prevent this.

Read More
Open Maps Widget for Google Maps settings to configure the Google Maps API key. The map can't work without it. This is a Google's rule that all sites must follow.