Investing in property is a major decision with serious financial and legal implications. It is essential for property owners to understand what exactly it is that they own. Title disputes occur when there is an argument over who owns a property and how much land the property includes. When it comes to these disputes, an inch may go a mile. Erecting a fence or shed on what turns out to be your neighbours property could land you in the middle of an expensive litigation. Real estate lawyers have essential knowledge on how to handle title disputes and, more importantly, avoid them.

What is Title?

Title is simply the legal ownership of a property. A title outlines what rights an owner has over their property. This includes information on possession, mortgages and/or liens, easements and resource ownership. When you buy a property, the previous owner will sign a document called a ‘deed’ which transfers the title to your name. This is recorded in the government land registry.

Knowing your property

It is important for property owners to know what they own. A good lawyer can conduct an extensive investigate on behalf of property owners in order to determine what their rights are with respect to the land that they purchase. Investigation should begin with a title search. A title search for a property will display ownership rights in the property. Service Ontario has a database that can be searched for land registration records.

If a land title is not sufficiently investigated before purchase the property owner may be in for a surprise – and not a good one. They may later discover that the seller fraudulently presented themselves as the legal property owner when they were not authorized to sell the property. There may be liens or mortgages registered on the title. There may be restrictions on the use of the purchased land. For example, a restrictive covenant may state that new owners cannot build their home above a certain height on their property. The land may also be the subject of an easement. An easement is the right to use another piece of land for a limited, specified purpose, even though the owner of that property retains legal title. For example, an easement may give a property owner the right to use a small part of his neighbour’s adjacent driveway. Easements are tricky: they may ‘run with the land,’ meaning that future owners inherit the rights unknowingly.

Property buyers can purchase title insurance to protect themselves against losses relating to their property title or ownership. This may cover unknown defects in the title, existing liens against their property and errors in land surveys which affect the value of their property. This option can be discussed with a lawyer to determine if it is appropriate.

For property owners, developing a clear understanding of their title is essential to avoiding disputes and disappointment after purchase. A good lawyer will help owners handle or, preferably, avoid the stressful litigation which can arise in the case of a title dispute

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Evelyn Burnette
Evelyn Burnette
06:08 12 Mar 18
We have a family business and one day we found ourselves in a legal situation in which we felt completely overwhelmed and helpless. We quickly realized there’s a whole different world out there that we know nothing about. Reached out to David and he quickly wrapped himself around our case. We know he was working around the clock. In a matter of days, we had a solid argument. He is sharp, candid and a true professional. Not sure how an attorney can help a client ANY better. Absolutely no hesitation recommending him.
Julia Austerlitz
Julia Austerlitz
00:15 10 Mar 18
When I was looking for a divorce lawyer, the most important thing to me was finding someone who would be easy to communicate with. I was anticipating a nasty custody battle and the last thing I wanted was a lawyer who was hard to get a hold of or who didn’t make me feel like my case was a priority. David Costa and Robin Mann were exactly what I was looking for. They responded quickly to all of my emails, took all of my concerns very seriously and above all, is very knowledgeable about family law. This was such a difficult phase of my life and they helped me to get through to the end of it with the best possible outcome. I highly recommend this law firm.
Ben Valencia
Ben Valencia
12:47 09 Mar 18
Mr. Costa and his wonderful assistant couldn't have been anymore professional. It's unfortunate I had to meet them under these circumstances but I wouldn't have chosen anyone different to represent me if I could. They’ve always kept me up to date on things I needed to get done and both were available when I had questions. They are first class in my book.
Daniel Hardison
Daniel Hardison
06:56 09 Mar 18
Have utilized David's services several times over the last five years. He always is quick to respond (even when he was on vacation), knows the real estate business inside out. His expertise always gives me the confidence the deal is done right.
Kate Miller
Kate Miller
20:08 13 Dec 17
Costa Law were a tremendous help in solving my legal issues. David and his team were professional, efficient, thorough and compassionate. Everyone involved capably assisted me in understanding the issues and the possible outcomes. I could not be happier with the results and would encourage anyone needing legal help to contact them. Best law group in the town. Thanks to everyone at Costa Law!!!
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