Understanding Land Title Registrations

Alberta Land Titles Registrations; Land Title Registrations

Understanding Land Title Registrations in Alberta often provides a daunting task. Many registrations include archaic language, missing pages, and information which is often misleading. People also refer to these documents as encumbrances on title. The following include the most common registrations found on land titles in Alberta. Many of the below sections, link to further pages with more details on the specific land title registrations and how they impact your property.If you require more information or details, our team of real estate lawyers in both Calgary and Edmonton provide the help you need. Kahane Law Office provides itself on helping Alberta with all their real estate legal needs.

What Is A Certificate Of Title?

The title to a property in Alberta is a document produced by the Alberta Land Titles Office. A land titles search is easy to complete in Alberta.  They record and store all official information as it relates to real property. Real property includes all land in Alberta and , in some instances mineral rights. The Certificate of title lists standard information for all land. After the standardized information, the title lists all current land title registrations on that title. For example, the standardized, consistent information includes the:

  • Registered owner(s) of the property;
  • Status of multiple owners ownership, specifically if owned as joint tenants or tenants in common;
  • Type of ownership. For example, Fee simple, leasehold, life estate;
  • Address for notice for the owner;
  • Legal description;
  • Status of if mines and minerals are included in the ownership;
  • Date of the last transfer of ownership;
  • Declared value of the land at the time of the last transfer;
  • Municipality; and lastly
  • Date of the certificate.

Registration Numbers For Land Title Registrations

All land title registrations include a unique registration number. This number is referred to as the DRR or Document Registration Number. Located on the left side of the title beside the specific type of registration, these are sequential numbers. The current numbering system includes a 9 digit number. Historically, the registration number was shorter and sometimes used letters and numbers. The number allows anyone to download the document as registered. All registrations form part of the public record. Even discharged documents form part of the public record. Lastly, the system allows for the same document’s registration on multiple titles, one number may reflect on many titles but and refers to the same document on each.

Specific Types Of Land Title Registrations

Many types of land title registrations exist. To further complicate the matter, within a type, many sub types exist. For examples, the following encumbrances appear on titles in Alberta:

Utility Right Of Way

A utility right of way is an area on the land detailed on a specific title reserved for utilities. For example, utilities include gas lines, electrical lines, phone and cable service lines. This encumbrance on title restricts a land owner from building any structure within this area. Often, owners find utilities buried where no Utility Right Of Way exists or the utilities lay in another part of the property. This demonstrates the importance of proper underground utility locating before digging into the ground.

Overland Water Drainage Right Of Way

These land title registrations enforce a passage of land to allow water to properly drain off the property. Often, a person sees a drainage swale to collect and drain water. In most instances the swale is smaller than the actual right of way. This means that land owners cannot us it as a guide as to where they can build a structure. This encumbrance specifies the exact locations for any building prohibitions.

Airport Zoning Regulations

These encumbrances restrict development on property near to an airport or flight path. Unlike other land title registrations, these include nature items such as trees. The restrictions keep the height of anything on the land to a maximum allowable limit. Obviously, the limits protect the areas where an aircraft travels.

Homeowner Associations

Many communities include a homeowner association or HOA. These associations do a number of things in their communities. For example, the association may plant flowers annually, maintain a lake for community use, or even offer additional snow removal than that offered by a municipality. These land title registrations help to enforce both compliance with the association rules and payment of annual fees.

Restrictive Covenants

A restrictive covenant restricts what a person is allowed to do with their land. The restrictions take many forms. Unless a specific expiry date exists in the document, they survive and run with the land. To remove or amend the restrictive covenant, a landowner must apply to the court for a court order. The Order instructs the land titles office to remove the restrictive covenant. Alternatively, land titles registers the Order, amending the restrictions. For example, a restrictive covenant may force the following:

  • Types of exterior building materials, finishes, styles or colours used on a property;
  • Restrict the allowable activities permitted on the property;
  • Specify the locations of buildings such as a garage; and lastly
  • Limit the number of residential dwellings permitted in a given area.


Caveat means warning in Latin. A caveat on title warns people that any interest that they take in a property comes subsequent to the registered caveat. The caveat is a catch all term and includes many sub-types of document registerable on title. The common element of any caveat is that the caveat must be registered based on an agreement that specifically charges the land. For example, the following all for types of caveats:

  • Agreement Charging Land
  • Assignment of Rents
  • Beneficial Owners
  • Bankruptcies
  • Promissory Notes
  • Other debts that charge the land (such as real estate commissions agreement)
  • Deferred Services Agreement


Easements allow a property owner a right to access another property. For example, if two homes share a driveway or well, the party who does not own that land may need access to the portion of land covered by the easement. Another example includes zero lot line properties. In these cases, the homeowner, since they own no land on the side of their home, many need to access the neighbours property to make repairs.

Assignment Of Rents

This document, when registered on title, allows a mortgage lender (with a mortgage secured on title), to approach a renter and demand payment of rent directly to the lender if the landowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The registration occurs at the same time as the registration of the mortgage itself, or at any time after.  On repayment of the mortgage, the Assignment of Rents “falls off title” with the submission and registration of the mortgage discharge. Learn more about how Assignment of Rents function with this link.

Encroachment Agreement

These land title registrations deal with any structure that crosses over your property line onto someone else’s property.  The agreement allows the structure to remain in place. They often prohibit the rebuilding of the structure in the same place. Of note, many such agreements include a term that allows for the forced removal of the structure within a specified notice period such as 90 days. Learn more about encroachment agreement encumbrances found on titles here.

Mortgage Land Title Registrations

A mortgage is a specific type of debt that encumbers many titles. These land title registrations cover both regular mortgages as well as lines of credit. In the event of non-payment the lender, under a mortgage, commences a foreclose or judicial sale action to recover the debt owed. Although only viewable on a historical title search, a mortgage discharge is a document registered at the Land Titles Office to remove the mortgage from title.

Certificate Of Lis Pendens

In the event that a land owner faces a lawsuit that somehow relates to the land, the person suing often files a Certificate of Lis Pendens. Also known as a CLP, this land title registration warns people that someone else may have an interest in land. The interest is not finalized until the court issues a judgment in favor of the person filing the CLP. Once issues, the CLP is discharged and a Writ is then registered.


A writ is a document that demonstrates that someone sued the landowner and won the lawsuit against that owner. The writ warns people who have a later interest in the land and allows for the sale of the land to repay the amount owed.

Builder’s Lien

A lien exists only due to specific legislation in Alberta. builder lien

Anyone who works on property to improve it may, if not paid, register a Builder’s Lien in that property. Many rules exist with respect to registering a Builder’s Lien. A similar law exists specifically for beet Liens protecting anyone who supplies seeds.

Tax Notifications

If a person fails to pay taxes with regards to property tax or any tax due to the Canada Revenue agency, faces the registration of a the notification. this ensures the payment of overdue taxes.

Dower Release

In Alberta, a non-owner spouse has Dower Rights if they or the owner spouse live in the property anytime after they marry. This law is restricted to legally married couples and offers no protection for common law couples. A dower release allows the owner on title to avoid securing the consent of their spouse each time they wish to grant an interest in land. For example, if the owner wishes to remortgage, list the home for sale or actually transfer ownership of the land. Learn more about dower releases as they apply to real estate in Alberta.

Power Of Attorney

A Power of Attorney allows for someone other than the owner to sign on behalf of the owner. With these land title registrations, the person with the authority to sign, no longer requires a separate documents proving such power exists.

Party Wall Agreements

Party wall agreements are agreements that set out the rights, obligations and responsibilities, for people who share a wall. For example, duplexes, fourplexes and row houses, all should have a party wall agreement registered on title to avoid disputes between neighbours.


A variety of orders exist as land title registrations. Courts issue Orders as appropriate and include things such as cease work orders, order for sale of the property and more.

Public Heath Notices

These notices pertain to problems with the property that render it unsafe. These notices exist for bad drinking water, former grow operations

with mould problems, mouse infestations creating a health hazard, etc.


A postponement is a document that changes the order of affordability. The law states that the interest of the first to register beats the next in line (see below for more details).  For example, if a person with a promissory agreement agrees to postpone their interest to a new mortgage being registered on title, the postponement secures the second registered interest’s position to now come in first place.

First In Line Land Titles Registrations

The rule at land titles is simple. First in line wins. Meaning that anyone with an interest in the land secured on title, has protection of their interest first. If the person in first position forces the sale of the land, the subsequent interest holder’s only gets whatever amount is leftover after the payment of the first debt.

Help Registering Land Title Registrations

Kahane Law Office started business as a real estate boutique law firm. As such both our Calgary and Edmonton Offices help clients with land titles registrations. We help you determine the type of registration allowed or required. In addition, we draft the proper for needed for specific encumbrances to help ensure registration of the document with the Province. Following the specified forms and rules often provides problematic for people.

Fighting Or Enforcing Land Title Registrations

The Edmonton litigation lawyers as well as the Calgary litigation lawyers at Kahane Law Office assist client when they need help with fighting a registered document on title, or enforcing that document. This includes removing or amending restrictive covenants.

Edmonton & Calgary Lawyers For All Land Title Registrations

We understand real estate law and help clients across the province. For any issues regarding any encumbrance on title, email or call today. Both our Calgary or Edmonton lawyers help people all across Alberta so email us or call either office. Email us for help here. Alternatively, call our Calgary office at (403) 225-8810 or our Edmonton Office at (780) 571-8463.