Real Estate Law

Toronto Real Estate Lawyers

When to call a Lawyer and what you need to know

If you are considering selling or purchasing real estate, it is advisable to consult a lawyer prior to signing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale or, in the alternative, inserting a clause in this agreement to give you an opportunity to review this agreement with a lawyer prior to it becoming final and binding.  In many cases a standard form of Agreement of Purchase and Sale is used.  The Purchaser or Vendor, as the case may be, must ensure that all significant terms, representations and warranties are included in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The Vendor and Purchaser will necessarily have different concerns which must be addressed in order to complete the transaction.

Real estate law is a branch of civil law that covers rights to possess, use, and enjoy land. This area of law covers relations between owners, their permissible interests in the property, transfers of interest in real property, financing of real property, including deeds, mortgages and leases. Real estate transactions – purchases, sales or leases – are the subject of both federal and provincial laws. The agreement of purchase and sale with respect to real estate is a contract, and as such, it must be made in writing in order to comply with the Statute of Frauds. This agreement brings with it all the obligations, responsibilities, and procedures of contract law and it spells out the rights and obligations of each party to the transaction. With the recent introduction of a paperless, electronic land registration system, Costa Law Firm PC can assist you with your property transaction, regardless of its location in the province of Ontario.


    At Costa Law Firm, our lawyers will give you the advice you require particular to your individual circumstances.  When acting for a purchaser of real property, you may consult with Costa Law Firm regarding the following:  enclosing a conditional right of the purchaser to inspect the property prior to closing the deal;  this includes the provision requiring the production of a property’s up-to-date survey or, in the alternative, an existing survey of the property;  making the agreement conditional upon the purchaser arranging financing, or in the alternative the sale of an existing property and the insertion of such clauses relating to the present or future use of the property, as may be necessary.

    We are determined to assist you in purchasing the type of property in the location you are interested in buying.  We fully discuss with our clients their needs, the value of the property they are interested in, and the steps to go through in drafting an agreeable agreement of purchase.  If you are obtaining financing for the first time, we also ensure that you are fully aware of liability issues with your mortgage.  First-time home buyers may also be eligible for a full or partial refund of the Land Transfer Tax (LTT), payable to the Ontario government, and the Municipal Land and Transfer Tax (MLTT), payable to the City of Toronto.


    When acting for the Vendor, the lawyers at Costa Law Firm can give advice regarding the following: the particulars of any mortgages to be assumed;  a vendor take back mortgage to be provided on closing;  implications relating to Harmonized Sales Tax (HST);  Land Transfer Tax (Provincial and Municipal);  the impact of any representations relating to tenancies and the implications of any representations regarding the specified use of the property.

    Selling a house or property can be a complex process. Whether a first-time vendor or not, you are likely to have numerous questions on the following: current market value, the need for an appraisal, the paperwork involved in completing the sale, inspections, the closing date of the transaction, etc. We are here to assist you with these and other questions that may arise in the process.


    Buying or selling a residential or commercial property is a very significant investment, which is why it is important to get the transaction done right through courteous, reliable and professional representation.  These transactions may become especially complex, particularly when they involve detailed commercial leases.  The difference in cost between residential and commercial properties is also very significant.  Valuation of unique commercial properties without access to professional advice may also be more difficult than for residential properties, which often depend upon a price comparison of houses and apartments in a given area.


    The purchase and sale of a condominium unit or corporation involves a detailed consideration of the Condominium Act, 1998, the description and declaration of the condominium, as well as its by-laws and rules.  It is important to understand the difference between common elements of a multi-unit building, such as the lobby, walkways, elevators, fitness centres and swimming pools, and its exclusive elements.  Parking and locker spaces for storage may also be treated differently – either as separate units or part of the principal unit being purchased.  Under the Condominium Act, there are also special protections in place for purchasers of new residential, commercial, industrial and retail condominiums.


    Real estate contracts commonly require that title to the property sold be marketable.  This requires that the seller have proof of title to all the property he or she is selling and that third parties not have undisclosed interests in the title.  A title insurance policy gives the buyer a peace of mind and it guarantees your title to the new property against potential unknown and undisclosed pitfalls.  For example, this may include survey title defects, fraud, forgery, liens and other problems.  In some cases, you may order a Title Insurance policy where no survey is available.

    Purchasers now have the option of obtaining title insurance, usually as an alternative to the costs of a new survey of the property.  The lawyers of Costa Law Firm will advise you if your particular transaction may benefit from title insurance, which often eliminates the need of obtaining municipal tax, building and zoning certificates.  Title Insurance  can protect against many claims arising from title defects and risks.  Title Insurance may also be required by mortgage lenders to cover their interests in the land.

    Once an Agreement of Purchase and Sale is accepted, the lawyers at Costa Law Firm will work diligently to complete the transaction and, in general, will carry out the following:  (i) a search of title will be conducted, examining the chain of title and checking the ownership of adjoining lands;  (ii) reviewing the survey provided, and advising on the necessity of an up-to-date survey;  (iii) checking for property insurance;  (iv) reviewing the relevant sections of the Municipal Zoning By-laws to ensure that the property and its use complies with local requirements;  (v) conducting a corporate search to confirm that a vendor corporation is a valid and subsisting corporation during the time in which it held title to the property;  (vi) determining if a purchaser is buying a condominium unit or ordering an estoppel certificate with the purchaser;  (vii) reviewing executions against parties;  (viii) addressing any environmental concerns [in particular] relating to commercial and industrial properties;  (ix) ordering a tax certificate;  (x) checking outstanding utility accounts;  (xi) conducting an inquiry as to the compliance with registered and unregistered restrictions;  (xii) if the purchaser is a new home buyer, requesting an (xiii) occupancy permit, and obtaining evidence of HUDAC enrollment and warranty;  (xiv) if the purchaser is acquiring rental property, we shall conduct an examination of the validity of rents and the compliance with the appropriate legislation;  and (xv) maintain open communication with the client to address any and all other issues which may arise.


    Whether you are intending to deal with a residential condominium, a new home purchase, commercial, industrial, rental or cottage property, Costa Law Firm will provide the guidance and assistance you require to complete your transaction and protect your interests.  By consulting with our office at an early stage in your transaction, you may obtain the advice which could avoid unwanted expense and litigation when either party is unable or unwilling to complete the transaction.