First off: What is a Land Title?
Land titles in Alberta are records of ownership of land parcels and the specific interests registered on them, such as mortgages, caveats, easements, and liens. Created by Australian Robert Torrens in the 1850s, Alberta uses the Torrens land title system, itself based on the shipping registry. First used in Vancouver island in 1861, the Torrens system was adopted in Alberta in 1887 and has remained the main system ever since.
When read correctly, a land title can reveal an abundance of information on a particular parcel of land, which can be useful when settling disputes or establishing boundaries.
Reading an Alberta Land Title
Starting at the top, an Alberta land title features a Land Identification Number Code (LINC), an abbreviated short legal land description, and a title number. Each parcel of land has a unique LINC assigned to it, while the short legal land description typically includes the land’s meridian, range, township, and quarter. The title number is self-explanatory.
Next, an Alberta land title will list a parcel’s legal description, which consists of an expansion of the short legal description (meridian, range, township, section), as well as a description of what the parcel includes. In some cases, a land title may include an “Excepting Thereout” section, which specifies features not controlled by the title, such as roads and public infrastructure. Moreover, most Albertans don’t actually own surface rights to their land and their titles will often include the phrase “Excepting Thereout All Mines and Minerals.”
The next section describes the type of land ownership. Except by the Crown, land in Canada can never be fully owned. The highest form of land ownership in Canada is fee simple, wherein the property owner/s are free to do with the land as they please, subject to government restrictions such as expropriation of land for highway or infrastructure purposes. Other types of land ownership include life estates, where a property owner is granted ownership for the duration of their lives, and leasehold estates, where property owners are granted ownership for a pre-determined number of years. This section also includes the municipality the land is located in, as well as a unique reference number.
Next come the registered owners’ details including their full names and addresses. Land titles in Alberta may be held by one or more individuals, and the title will include details for each registered owner as well as the tenancy type.
Encumbrances, Liens + Interests
After the owner details is where things can get a bit tricky. This is where any encumbrances, liens, or interests are listed, along with their registration number, date, and specific details. This could include things like caveats, which are essentially warnings that a third party has an interest in the parcel of land; restrictive covenants, which restricts certain behavior on a parcel of land; utility rights of way, granting above or below ground right of way to utilities like wires, cables, pipelines, or sewage; and other liens and mortgages. This section is perhaps the most important part of an Alberta land title, and it’s always recommended you seek professional assistance if you have even a shred of doubt – it could end up saving you valuable time and money in the long term.
Calgary Land Survey Services
Now that you know more about how to read an Alberta land title, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding the next time you need information on a particular parcel of land. If you’re looking for more detailed information, however, then you may need an advanced survey like a Real Property Report or Property Fence Line Survey. Get in touch with Arc Surveys today at 403-277-1272 or fill in our online form to request a free quote on any of our services.
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