Surveyor's Real Property Report

Purchasers of real property must consider the benefits and need of acquiring an up-to-date Surveyor's Real Property Report and title insurance as part of any real estate transaction.

To do that, there must be a clear understanding of the benefits of each product and, above all, a realization that they are mutually exclusive products. Neither can provide nor replace the benefits of the other.

A Surveyor's Real Property Report (SRPR) is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of all visible public and private improvements relative to the property's boundaries, as well as the geographic relationship of the property to the adjacent properties, the property dimensions and the location, if any, of registered easements, rights-of-way, encroachments or other encumbrances affecting the property.

An up-to-date SRPR lets the prospective purchaser know what exactly is being purchased.

An SRPR may be acquired from any licensed Ontario Land Surveyor offering professional services to the public under the authority of a Certificate of Authorization. All such professionals are certified by the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors, the provincial regulator of the profession, and each must carry professional liability insurance as public protection for professional errors and omissions.

Title insurance is an insurance product which may provide financial compensation should any pre-existing but unknown insurable defect come to light subsequent to the purchase of a policy and cause financial loss to the policy holder. The defect may involve the buildings, structures, quality or extent of title but the insurance cannot create or move boundaries nor remove legal encumbrances such as easements. In addition, it may not compensate for future actions of the property owner such as having to remove a fence wrongly placed by the owner subsequent to the purchase and due to the lack of proper boundary information.

Therefore, both an up-to-date SRPR and title insurance may well have their own place in real estate transactions, especially those involving complicated land assemblies, properties on which buildings, decks, pools, etc. are close to the apparent property lines. An up-to-date SRPR of rural and vacation properties should always be considered.

Toronto Star columnist and real estate lawyer Bob Aaron says it best in his article: "Make land survey part of any deal".

In the News and Other Publications area you will find a CBC story on a case in Nova Scotia.

Reference may also be made to the following Association publications: