A title search is a review of the public records of a specific property to verify ownership and identify instruments affecting title. A title search will reveal, among other things, transfers, notices, liens, mortgages, agreements, and declarations. Such information is public information and may be accessed by anyone. Although there may be many reasons why lawyers would conduct title searches, in the context of real estate, a title search is often performed to identify issues and defects related to title. When conducting a title search, the buyer’s lawyer will verify the legal description of the property, verify that the seller’s name matches the names on the title, and look for defects such as liens, encumbrances, and notices of security interest.

If any title issues are identified by the real estate lawyer representing the buyer, they will be set out in a requisition letter and sent to the seller’s solicitor. The seller’s solicitor typically replies to the requisition letter prior to closing, addressing the listed items and setting out the manner in which title issues will be resolved. Agreement of purchase and sale forms 100 and 101 of OREA, set out that on the day of closing the seller must provide the buyer with a clean title, free and clear from all registered restrictions, charges, liens, and encumbrances, except as otherwise specifically provided in the agreement. If the seller is unable or unwilling to provide a clean title and the buyer is unwilling to waive the existence of such title issues, then the buyer will be entitled to terminate the transaction and have all deposit money returned without penalty. An experienced real estate lawyer will be able to promptly review title for you and identify and resolve title issues as necessary. In our practice, we always recommend that a rudimentary search of title be conducted prior to the signing of the agreement of purchase and sale to avoid any surprises after the signing of the agreement of purchase and sale.

Contact us today if you require legal assistance with a real estate transaction. Our real estate law team has the experience and knowledge to assist you throughout every step of the transaction.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not to be construed as legal advice. The content is drafted and published only for the purpose of providing the public with general information regarding various real estate and business law topics. For legal advice, please contact us.

About the Author:

Shahriar Jahanshahi is the founder and principal lawyer at Jahanshahi Law Firm with a practice focus on representing business star-ups and investors in the province of Ontario. For further information about Shahriar Jahanshahi, click here.