Understanding Zero Lot Lines In Alberta
Many people living in Alberta live on a property that includes zero lot lines. A home buyer needs to ensure awareness of what this means before they offer to purchase a zero lot line property. While not necessarily a bad thing, legal implications exist affecting the subject property. If, after reading below, you have any questions, please contact the real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary or Kahane Law Office in Edmonton. We assist people in understanding their rights and obligations when it comes to real property.
What Is A Zero Lot Line Property?
A zero lot line property is a property where bylaws allow for a building’s construction right up to the lot line. A requirement exists that the building’s construction occurs completely on the land in question. Essentially, no setbacks create space between the building and the neighbouring property. As described below, this sets up legal implications for both property owners (the property with the building and the property next to it). Usually, a setback exists on the other side of the property.
Advantages To Properties With Zero Lot Lines
A zero lot line usually allows someone to use more of the property for building on. This means often translates into a low cost for the property as compared to a similar size building with setbacks on both sides.
Disadvantages To Properties With No Setbacks
With advantages, we often see corresponding disadvantages. In this case, several disadvantages exist for these types of properties. However, these disadvantages do not inherently make these properties good or bad to own. For example, it often means that the home or building has:
- Less privacy
- More noise transmission from neighbouring properties due to proximity;
- A different resale value to a traditional property; and lastly
- Strangers entering onto your property.
Related Encumbrances On Land Title
Most often, an encumbrance or registration on the title to both the subject property and the neighbouring property exists. This registration most often shows up as an “easement”. Occasionally people register the encumbrance as a caveat. Ask your real estate agent about it, if you are not sure if a property you look to buy has no setback. Visually, the determination is often easy. However, your real estate agent needs to download the title to the property to see if the related encumbrance exists on title. Once a contract is unconditional, the buyer under the contract is contractually bound to purchase. Essentially, a buyer needs to know about this situation before they legally commit to purchase.
Effect Of Zero Lot Lines Related Registrations On Title
As stated above, most zero lot line properties include an easement related to the neighbouring property. Since the encumbrance is on title to the property, a buyer is deemed to know about it when they purchase the property. The registration is there for the world to see. A buyer’s obligation involved completing due diligence to ensure the property is right for them. The easement allows the owner of the property with the building extending right to the lot line to do several things they normally could not do. For example, the easement allows the owner of the property with the building to:
- Enter onto the neighbouring property;
- Use the neighbouring property to make repairs to the building;
- Enter onto the neighbouring property for regular maintenance of the building;
- Restricts the ability to build fences; and lastly
- Create a situation where one party owes damages to not following the permissions and /or obligations.
What If There Is No Registration?
As frustrating as an encumbrance on title allowing a stranger to access your property is, often more problems arise when none exists. A lack of encumbrance means no rules set out each party’s rights and obligations. Therefore, if a person needs to access the neighbouring property to maintain or fix their own property, no legal right allows for that. Unfortunately, this often leads to serious disputes as between neighbours.
How Real Estate Lawyers Help
No judgment needs to apply to properties with zero lot lines. For example, they are not inherently good or bad. However, anyone purchasing one of these properties needs to understand the rules associated with those properties. With understanding a person has a better opportunity to determine if the property is good or bad for them. The real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office help clients with this understanding. Often we answer questions on the property the same or the next business day and often without cost. In situations involving more detailed, adversarial, litigious or impactful situations, you may incur fees. However, we always tell clients if they incur charges before they actually incur them.
Zero Lot Line Lawyers In Alberta
Thinking of buying a zero lot line home in Alberta? Send us an email with your questions. Knowledge is key prior to any investment in real estate. Our lawyers routinely help people buying a home or selling a home that includes a zero lot line. We have the experience and understanding to help. Call or email today. With offices located conveniently located in both Calgary and in Edmonton, we offer our real estate legal services in both of those cities and in their corresponding surrounding areas. Allow us to provide you with the information you need quicker by emailing us at this email address. Alternatively, we look forward to your call. Call our team in Edmonton at (780) 571-8463 or in Calgary at (403) 225-8810.