Attention All Realtors: Be Cautious When Advising Clients To Avoid Land Title Fee Increases
The Alberta Land Title Fee Increases are around the corner. Starting July 1st, 2015, all the Alberta Land Title fees will be increasing. Everything from variable registration costs, to title searches. People obviously want to avoid these increases if they can but there are some things that you need to know about how the Alberta Land Title fee increases will work. If you understand the fee increases and want to jump to the warning, just scroll down to after the chart showing the new and old fees. Of course if you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact the real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary.
How Much will the Land Title Fees Increase?
The current Land Title Office fees are probably one of the lowest in the world. In addition, Alberta does not have a land transfer tax like other provinces. These taxes can be tens of thousands of dollars. Even with the low Land Title fees, the Land Title Office in Alberta was cash flow positive for the Alberta Government to the tune of just under $60 million annually. the following are examples of some of the Alberta Land Title fee increases:
- Title Search: $10 to $15 (50% increase)
- Flat Rate Portion of Title Transfer $50 to $75 (50% increase)
- Flat Rate Portion of Mortgage Registration $50 to $75 (50% increase)
- Variable Portion of Title Transfer is increasing by 6 times the current level
What Do the Alberta Land Title Fee Increases Mean for Taxpayers?
The following is an example of what the Alberta Land Title fee increases will mean (compared to the old Service Alberta land title fees) for people buying a new home in Alberta.
|House Value i.e., $450,000||Current||New|
|Land Title Fixed
Land Title Variable
The Warning to Realtors
Many realtors are already talking about setting their clients closing dates on June 30th, 2015 to avoid the July 1st Alberta Land Title fee increases. The problem with this strategy is that the land titles system does not care when the possession date is. The Alberta Land Titles fee increases will take place for document registrations that occur on or after July 1, 2015. The Land Titles system is not an instant registration system. Documents are sent to land titles and they process them manually. The delay in registration has ranged from one day to about three weeks. As the summer gets busier, land titles gets further behind. Until just before July 1st, there will be no way of determining how long document processing will take. There are many factors that also come into play as to the earliest that the documents can even be sent to land titles for registration. Limited examples of these delays include:
- When clients provide documents to their mortgage person;
- When mortgage instructions are sent to the lawyers;
- Last minute mortgage conditions;
- When a client can come in to sign;
- If someone is sick at land titles;
- Current land title registration delays;
- When the land transfer is sent by the lawyer for the seller;
- The absence of a current RPR with compliance;
- Where in the province a person lives.
How to Advise Real Estate Clients
In the big picture of buying a home, the Alberta Land Title fee increases are not horrific. On the other hand, who wants to spend an extra thousand or two if they do not have to. What is safe? It is very very likely that a possession of June 1st, 2015 will close under the old fee structure.It is fairly unlikely that a possession of June 30th will close under the old fee structure. That said, in certain situations, a closing of July 2nd, could theoretically not be charged under the new Alberta Land Title fee increases if everything is ready well in advance but this is extraordinarily unlikely. Just be very aware (and communicate as much to your clients) that it will not be possible to guarantee when a “safe” date is to avoid the Alberta Land Title fee increases.
More Questions About The Alberta Land Title Fee Increases?
The real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office believe in education. If you have any questions about the fee increases please do not hesitate to connect with our office. Call 403-225-8810 or email today to contact us.