The Province of Nova Scotia has enacted new legislation and is acquiring new technology to modernize its 250-year-old Registry of Deeds system. The Land Registration Act moves Nova Scotia from an antiquated names-based system to a system that guarantees ownership and provides access to land-related information to subscribers through an Internet browser. Documents recorded at the Land Registration Office are indexed to the unique location of the land parcel affected. Converting a property from the traditional names-based registry into the new land registration system is required any time you purchase a property for value (the value is usually the purchase price or the mortgage assumed if the property is a gift), mortgage a property or subdivide your land into three or more parcels (including the remainder). The LRA brings changes to the subdivision approval process in Nova Scotia. Requirements affecting the process will be in effect across Nova Scotia by March 2005.
New Subdivision Requirements
1. Three or More Parcels
The Land Registration Act states that non-family subdivisions resulting in three or more parcels will require the existing affected parcels be converted to the new land registration system. If the sub-divider creates one new parcel on one plan and later creates another new parcel on another plan, neither subdivision is triggered. The trigger for conversion to the new system is one plan that results in three or more parcels, including the remainder.
2. Sale of New Parcel Triggers Transfer
Even though a subdivision that results in fewer than three parcels does not require the conversion of the existing affected parcels, when each of the new parcels is sold (transferred for value), the sale will trigger the mandatory conversion of those parcels to the new land registration system. It is, therefore, a benefit to the developer to convert the existing parcels to the new system before they are subdivided, even if the subdivision would not automatically trigger such a conversion. If the developer converts the bulk land (parent parcel) first and then subdivides, only one conversion needs to be done. If the developer converts each lot as it is approved, conversion costs are incurred for each individual lot as it sells.
3. Conversion of Existing Parcels
If the subdivision is triggered into the new system, the existing parcel(s) must be converted to the new system prior to the application for final subdivision approval. Once the existing parcels are under the new system, any parcels created from them are automatically in the new system.
4. Family Subdivision
If the owner is subdividing solely for the purpose of gifting to family members, a sworn affidavit to this effect must be submitted with the application for final subdivision approval. Family subdivisions, regardless of the number of lots being created, do not have to be transferred to the new system.
5. Consolidations and Addition Parcels
A consolidation is not a trigger but certain sales related to consolidations are. If the addition parcel did not exist on its own before the proposed consolidation, the sale of that addition parcel is not a trigger. If the addition parcel did exist on its own prior to the proposed consolidation, the sale of that addition parcel is a trigger which will require the other lot(s) involved in the consolidation to also be tiggered, as it is not possible to have only a portion of a parcel in the new system.
Subdivision Process Steps
1. The sub-divider consults (by phone or in person) with the municipal unit during the preliminary and tentative stages of the subdivision process.
2. At the final stage of subdivision approval, the sub-divider reviews the proposed plan with the Land Registration Office (LRO) staff to ascertain the requirements under the Land Registration Act.
3. The LRO staff members review the subdivision application and plan to determine if the resulting configuration of the parcels will require the transfer of existing parcels on that plan to the new land registration system.
NOTE: The sub-divider should be aware that the advice being given by LRO staff regarding subdivision requirements is based on the developer following through with the parcels proposed on the plan. If any changes are made to this plan prior to final endorsement by the development officer, and these changes result in the requirement for additional existing parcels to be transferred to the new land registration system, this must be done before the plan is submitted for registration at the LRO. If these requirements are not met, the registration of the plan, and any conveyances of the parcels created by the plan, will be delayed.
4. When parcels must be converted to the new system prior to subdivision, the sub-divider must obtain the services of a lawyer or surveyor to submit a Parcel Description Certification Application (PDCA). This can only be done if the parcel can be located on the provincial property map with reasonable accuracy in relation to neighbouring parcels. Once the description is approved by LRO staff, a lawyer is needed to register the parcel in the new land registration system.
5. When LRO staff are satisfied that all the necessary steps have been taken, they complete the Land Registration Subdivision Checklist that is used to advise the development officer of the status of the LRA requirements. The chart below shows the requirements for each possibility.
||What the Sub-Divider Gives the Development Officer (Together with the Final Application for Subdivision)|
|Subdivision results in three or more parcels and is a non- family subdivision
||Parcel printout from LRO proving that existing affected parcels have been converted into the new land registration system|
|The subdivision is solely for the purpose of gifting to family
||A completed and sworn Affidavit of Family Gifting|
|The subdivision results in fewer than three parcels
||Copy of LRO checklist which indicates that the subdivision results in fewer than three parcels|
6. Once the sub-divider has met the requirements under the new land registration system, the sub-divider submits the checklist (together with the Final Application for Subdivision) to the development officer.
7. If all provincial and municipal subdivision requirements are met, the development officer approves the final subdivision.
8. The approved plan is sent to the LRO by the municipal unit/planning commission to be registered as required by either the Land Registration Act or the Registry Act, depending on which of the scenarios on the above chart applies.
Other information is available to help you understand the new land registration system.
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