Certificate of Location: what is it? When do you need to get a new one? Why is it important for homeowners? This blog will answer all of the most important questions about this key document.
What is it?
A Certificate of Location is a document that is prepared by a land surveyor that dictates the property limits and whether there are any encroachments or servitudes. It also defines the actual space being occupied by the property on the lot, and which elements can be found where.
The first five or six pages go over any technical descriptions: Where does the lot line end? What are the neighboring lots? Are there any servitudes?
A servitude could be, for example, if you’re in an airport zone with airplanes flying above you and you therefore can’t build over a certain height. It could mean that Hydro Québec needs access to your backyard so they can service the lines.
On the last page of the certificate, you have a bird’s eye view of the property, the lot, the driveway, the garages, and the actual structure of the home. If there is a balcony, if there is a deck, if there are staircases, pavé, fences – it’s all there.
The Certificate also helps us understand whether we’re respecting municipal bylaws. Is the pool too close to the edge of the property? Is it fenced in? All these things are noted on the Certificate itself.
When do you need to update your CoL?
If you were to change anything outside of the property that is noticeable from a bird’s eye view, then you’re going to need a new Certificate.
If you make your deck larger, if you change your driveway to a different layout, If you put fences in new places, if you do anything that would change the view from the top down … all of these modifications fall into this category.
That being said, you shouldn’t get a new one right away. You only need it at the time of a sale, or sometimes when you’re refinancing your property if the one that you had is more than 10 years old.
So, when you make this change, don’t go running to get a new Certificate of Location, because if you keep the property for another 10 years, it’s going to expire again. That’s the second reason why you would need a new one, even if nothing has changed.
Why is the Certificate of Location so important?
It’s important because it’s the only document that is actually supervised by a land surveyor or professional. They are the only ones who can tell you where everything is, where everything should go, where you can build your fence, where you can put your pool. Is your neighbor encroaching on your land, or are they not? All that stuff.
Then, if there are any issues of that nature, then the notary knows to force the seller to pay for title insurance so that you are protected.
That’s everything you need to know about your Certificate of Location! We know real estate documents can be complex sometimes, so if you have any other questions about documentation related to your property, reach out to our team – we’ll know exactly how to help you work through it.