- Certificate of location : Certificate of location
Definition : Certificate of location
Notarial act en minute prepared by a land surveyor for the benefit of an owner or of his hypothecary creditor. The certificate of location includes a written report and a location plan. This report states the professional opinion the land surveyor on the situation and the present condition of an immovable ( land and building(s) erected thereon) concerning its state of conformity or non-conformity relative to property titles, to the cadastre and also to various regulations and laws that may affect it. The certificates of location of the building, if available, must be deposited in the register of the co-ownership. These must be made available to any co-owner who requests them.
WARNING! The certificate of location must not be confused with the cadastral plan, which is a public document, also prepared by a land surveyor, but who has as its object the representation, on a plan, of the land properties of Quebec.
December 20th, 2022 – In the case of a real estate transaction in a divided co-ownership, the certificate of location of the private portion is not always sufficient. A certified copy of the certificate of location of the entire building could also be requested. It is this certificate of location that will inform the buyer of the compliance of the overall property with respect to laws and regulations, encroachments, easements, as well as possible restrictions regarding the addition of a pool, sheds, for example.
Most buyers attach great importance to an apartment area/price ratio. Therefore, before signing the deed of sale, take time to carefully measure the area of your unit. Discrepancies between what is shown on the plan provided at the signing of the preliminary contract, versus the actual area shown on the cadastral plan or the certificate of location are frequent. This difference can be explained by many factors listed in the factsheet entitled The Area of the Private Portion.
Whether you are a real estate developer (for a new building) or several owners of an existing building who wish to convert it, the rules for subjecting a building to divided co-ownership are the same. The creation of a divided co-ownership is necessary when an immovable must be divided into lots composed of a private portion and a share of the common portions, and which belong to one or more different persons. The community of co-owners acquires the status of legal person from the day a declaration of co-ownership is published at the Land registry office (Land Register). The legal person thus constituted takes the name of “syndicate of co-owners”. Its mission is to ensure the " preservation of the immovable, the maintenance and administration of the common portions, the protection of the rights appurtenant to the immovable or the co-ownership, as well as all business in the common interest ". To form this co-ownership several steps involving many protagonists are necessary.
Expenses related to the maintenance and administration of the common portions of a co-ownerships start from its constitution as a legal person. It is therefore necessary that each co-ownership sets up, upon publication of the declaration of co-ownership, a Board of Directors to administer it. This board of directors is the executive body of the syndicate and its legal representative. Its members act as the mandataries of the syndicate. To ensure the star up of the syndicate, the developer usually designates in the declaration of co-ownership (by-laws of the immovable), one of its representatives to act as the interim director of the syndicate. His role is to accompany the co-owners, manage the co-ownership and see to the organization of the special transition meeting to elect the new directors to constitute the board of directors.
The law provides that the syndicate must keep a register available to the co-owners. Article 342 of the Civil Code of Quebec specifies that the board of directors shall keep the list of members, as well as the books and registers necessary for the proper functioning of the legal person. This register represents the memory of the building for those who administer it. It constitutes the history of the experience of the condominium from its conception, and this by specifying its maintenance and the work undertaken, while listing the contractors and suppliers who intervened. In this sense, it is invaluable. The syndicate must preserve for organizational and management purposes, or for legal protection and evidence purposes, all documents and information relating to the operation of the co-ownership. That is why "preservation", "access" and "archives" are the hallmarks of this register.
How to be sure that the off-plan apartment you have spotted meets your expectations and needs? One of the keys to success in the purchase of a new home: the quality of your exchange with the real estate developer. In this regard, the Law grants to purchasers the right of obtaining the most truthful and complete information possible on the nature and exact characteristics of the property being sold.
This obligation encompasses all the critical and relevant information concerning the immovable and the co-ownership. The information to be provided shall cover the private portion and the common portions of the building. You should act with the utmost care to ask for and obtain the required information to allow you to avoid disputes with your vendor (developer or builder).
Section 1719 of the Civil code of Québec states that the seller must provide the buyer with a copy of the deed of purchase, as well as with a copy of the owner history and of the certificate of location he has on hand. Prepared by a land surveyor, the certificate of location is part of the property titles the seller must supply.
In the interest of the buyer, the certificate of location should clearly describe the current condition of all private portions (for instance, an apartment, a parking or storage space, or even land). Should the seller not have a certificate of location on hand (and unless the promise to purchase states otherwise), they will need to have one prepared, at their own expense.
Seeking the services of a real-estate broker, who was formerly referred to as a real estate agent, is not mandatory.
However, unless you are able to assume the purchase and / or sale of a fraction of a building held in divided co-ownership by yourself, which will require ample time as well as in-depth knowledge in various fields, you would benefit from being accompanied by a competent real estate broker during your procedures. When you use the services of a real estate broker to buy, sell or lease a property, you are protected by the Real-Estate Brokerage Act.
As in common portions, work can be carried out in common portions for restricted use, such as building a terrace upon which a co-owner would have exclusive use or transforming a balcony into an additional room attached to an apartment. If such cases, the co-owners must keep in mind that article 1063 of the Civil Code of Québec governs the use they can make of the common portions for restricted use. This article stipulates that: "Each co-owner has the disposal of his fraction; he has free use and enjoyment of his private portion and the common portions, provided he complies with the by-laws of the immovable and does not impair the rights of the other co-owners or the destination of the immovable. "
An obligation exists for the seller, namely that of announcing the exact size of the unit he is selling. Most buyers attach great importance to the area/price ratio of an apartment, as this is a data that will greatly influence the price offered or their decision to buy or not. Therefore, before signing the deed of sale, take the time to carefully check the area of the unit. Discrepancies between what is shown on the plan provided at the signing of the preliminary contract, versus the actual area shown on the cadastral plan or the certificate of location are not isolated cases. However, this problem of surface areas is a source of frequent conflicts in co-ownership. And it's not exclusive to off-plan sales. It can also occur during a resale.