Real Property Reports

There have been many instances when I've requested a Real Property Report from a client and been met with a blank stare.
Many people don’t know what they are, where they are, or why they need one. In Calgary, a real property report with a City of Calgary compliance stamp is an necessary document to be supplied by the seller of a house or bareland condo before title transfer and payment. Sellers are encouraged to have one done as soon as possible so they can remedy any problems that may arise from the report. An RPR is a legal document an Alberta Land Surveyor prepares. It’s basically a drawing of the property, the boundaries, and the buildings and structures on it, so buyers know exactly what they’re buying. If you own your current home, you would have received a copy of the RPR from your lawyer and it could be filed away with your purchase documents. If you can’t locate it, I can provide a list of surveying companies that can assist you.

An RPR contains 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) and names of registered owners
- 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 and 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 such as 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

A current, compliant RPR allows sellers to know the location of the property boundaries and improvements, the measurements, any issues with the property or adjacent properties and to receive advice from a real estate professional and address compliance issues early in the selling process. Surveyors are responsible for completing the RPR, but they do not determine if the property is compliant. The City of Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks etc. will need to review the RPR and provide a compliance stamp. A compliance stamp currently costs $199 in the City of Calgary, $150 City of Airdrie, $125 Town of Cochrane, $175 Town of Okotoks & $125 for the Town of Chestermere. A current RPR allows everyone involved to know if there are any issues and if there is compliance with municipal bylaws. Before the municipality stamps your RPR, it will look for non-compliant issues, such as encroachments and relaxations.

Encroachments : If a structure encroaches on adjoining property, 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.

Relaxations: 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. As part of the sale, the buyer or lender may require a holdback of part of the purchase price or mortgage proceeds until you have a relaxation permit.

An updated Real Property Report with a compliance stamp is necessary for a smooth real estate transaction and should be ordered as soon as possible. If you RPR is over 10 years old or updates to the property have been made, you may be required to get an updated one.
Please visit Alberta Land Surveyors Association for more information. Rates vary so I encourage you shop around to find a surveyor.