What is a Real Property Report?
A Real Property Report (RPR) is a document that is needed when you are selling your house or bare land condos.
It is prepared by an Alberta Land Surveyor, and is a high level drawing of the property, the boundaries, fences, and the buildings and structures on it. It will contain the following:
- legal description and municipal address of the property
- date of land title search and date RPR was done
- Certificate of Title (land title) number and names of registered owner(s)
- location and description of all buildings and structures (e.g. decks, fences) with dimensions, directions and distances from the property boundaries
- location and dimensions of any visible encroachments (i.e. buildings or structures that are too close or even beyond the property line)
- designation of adjacent properties, roads, lanes
- evidence of municipal compliance (i.e. the RPR has been reviewed by your municipality and adheres to all municipal bylaws and regulations. They usually stamp and date compliance directly on the RPR)
- illustrations of any easements that affect the property (an easement is an agreement between the property owner and some other party (usually your municipal authority or utility) for them to utilize part of your property as needed)
- Certified Land Surveyor’s duly signed certification and opinion on any concerns
- copyright of the RPR to the land survey company
RPRs do not need to include sidewalks, driveways, landings or small sheds, and removal of an improvement does not require a new RPR.
Once the RPR is completed by the surveyor, it will be taken to the local municipality for verification that the land and improvements in their current form, as represented by the RPR, comply with municipal bylaws and regulations. If everything is compliant, they will stamp the RPR with a compliance stamp. In some cases, the municipality will grant compliance but note that something, like an old, detached garage, for example, is “non-conforming”. This means that at the time it was built the garage complied, but since that time the bylaws have changed, and it no longer conforms to today's standards.
A non-conforming element on an RPR is still acceptable with the understanding that the property owner can keep the garage, repair it, and maintain it, but never rebuild it in the same spot.
An encroachment is anything that is built or placed on the adjoining property. If this happens, you and the adjoining owner may enter into an encroachment agreement. In order to do so, the owner of the other property has to agree to allow the encroachment. The parties register the agreement on their property titles. If the adjoining owner doesn’t agree, you may have to remove the encroaching structure.
If a structure is too close to the property boundary or over an easement or utility right-of-way, your municipality may grant a relaxation to allow it to remain. This will usually require a relaxation permit, for which your municipality will have to conduct a further review and may require additional information such as photos of the structure and an extra permit fee. If the municipality does not grant the relaxation, you may have to move or remove the structure.
The seller representation agreement in Alberta requires sellers to provide a current RPR to the real estate brokerage. If you have an existing RPR and nothing has changed since it was prepared, then you can use that document. If there have been changes, you can contact the surveyor to see if they can update the existing RPR; but generally it is more cost effective to have a new one completed.
The purchase contract requires the RPR to be provided to the buyer’s lawyer with sufficient time to review prior to closing. It is a good idea to review the RPR as part of your due diligence so you know exactly what you are buying, and if there are any concerns that may come up when you go to sell.
The above information is provided as general information and is not considered legal advice. Please consult your lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about this information.