Wednesday 28 January 2015
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Certificate of location PDF Print E-mail

Prepared by a land surveyor, this document is an essential part of the file pertaining to the titles of a building. It is generally required for a real estate transaction.

The certificate of location includes a report and a plan by which the surveyor gives his professional opinion on:

  • the position of the building in respect to the land;
  • the state of compliance or noncompliance of the building in relation to the title, cadaster, and various laws and by-laws.

In co-ownership, an initial certificate of location must be prepared following the original cadastral survey that gives way to the establishment of various private and common portions.

Throughout the years, legal and physical modifications may have changed the situation and condition of the premises. These changes thus become grounds for amending the previous certificate of location.

The same goes for the renumbering of lots caused by the cadastral reform, or when a co-owner has taken the liberty of extending his private portion onto the common portions, or even onto one or many other private portions of the building.

The examples of encroachments are numerous, here are just a few:

  • demolition of a wall (common area) that divides two private portions;
  • demolition within a condo unit (private portion) of a load bearing wall, which is considered a common portion under the declaration of co-ownership;
  • incorporation of an end of a corridor (common portion) into a condo unit (private portion);
  • conversion by a co-owner, for his benefit only, of an attic (common portion) situated above his unit;
  • exchange between two co-owners of spaces in their adjacent condo units;
  • building of a shed in the common portions by a co-owner who does not hold the right to do so.

The impact of such infringements are not only at the local level. They are likely to compromise the integrity of the original cadaster and consequently the rights of ownership of all co-owners of the building. In this regard, it must be remembered that each co-owner has, on the common portions, an undivided right of ownership. It is also important to know that in some instances, these infringements may lead to situations of non-compliance with municipal by-laws.

However, the notary responsible for preparing the deed of sale must have on hand a certificate of location that displays the current state of the building in order to properly advise the parties.

A new certificate of location allows one to :

  • perceive the current condition of the premises;
  • know if any modifications were made since to the construction of the building;
  • ultimately fix any irregularities that may have arisen.

However, an important question is often asked in this regard : Is the selling co-owner is responsible for providing a certificate of location of his private portion?

The promise to purchase form, created by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ), provides that "in the case of a building covered by a declaration of co-ownership, a certicate of location describing the private portion sold is sufficient".

Being legally flawed, this practice is however explainable. Indeed, after several years, the certificate of location of the building should general, be redone and updated. In co-ownerships, the specific measurements would then need to be retaken and each private and common portion of the building would need to be revised. In the case of condominiums with many units, this would incur exorbitant costs and lengthy delays.

This is why the practice of requiring certificate of location only for  the private portion is imposed. The new certificate on the private portion will allow one to know whether the current occupation is compliant with the original cadastral plans, in addition to the rights and obligations stemming from the law and the declaration of co-ownership.

The certificate of location on  the private portion only however does not allow one to know if acts contrary to the laws and by-laws have been committed elsewhere in the building and in the common portions.

One must therefore rely on the board of directors and professional property managers to shed some light on the situation and to provide the purchaser with more information.

  ATTENTION ! Encroachment due to unlawfully conducted work grants the syndicate or any co-owner the right to demand the demolition of such structures, even if they are minimal and cause little damage.

   BEWARE ! The certificate of location of the private portion does not reveal the anomalies that may be affecting the common portions of the building. Indeed, most of the time, the land surveyor will limit himself to measure only the condo unit and, if need be, the associated private storage unit or parking space. Only a general certificate of location of the building allows a buyer to know the current state and condition of the common portions in comparison with the property titles, the cadastre, as well as the laws and by-laws possibly affecting them


files-buying home purchasing






Surface Area, False Representations: What can you do? (factsheets)
Review of the relative value of the lot and the distribution of common expenses (factsheets)
Private areas and common Areas (factsheets)
Certificate of Location: Global or for private areas only?(editorial)


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