Good title ensures that you really own the property, that it is correctly described in official documents and properly registered, and that no one else has a claim or a lien to it that you do not know about.
For example, mortgage holders, contractors, tenants and the spouse of the person selling the home may all have rights to the property that need to be resolved before the sale can proceed.
Good title is essential for you to be able to sell your home in the future.
As part of title-related responsibilities, your lawyer usually will:
- check that the person who is selling you the home has a right to sell the property, and that no one else has a claim to it or a lien on it
- consider survey-related issues such as whether anything on your property encroaches (intrudes) on neighbouring properties, or if neighbours are in fact using a part of your property
- contact the municipality to make sure that there are no work orders against the property which you could be forced to comply with after your home purchase has closed
- determine if any other organizations have interests in your property that could restrict your use of it. For example, there may be easements that give utilities the right to install and access hydro or gas lines. As well, if some or all of the home is being rented, tenants have rights that could affect ownership
- contact local utilities and the municipality to find out if there are liens against the property because of unpaid utility or tax bills
If there are problems that affect title to your property, your lawyer could take steps to fix the matter (often working with the vendor's lawyer). If the problem cannot be corrected, your lawyer will explain to you the risks of taking title without resolving the porblem.