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Title / Ownership Transfer

Are you planning to buy or sell property soon? 

Transfers of title and ownership are real estate transactions that occur daily all over the country. However, they’re not always straightforward.

To complete such a transaction correctly, you need to understand and follow the applicable laws. Canada’s legislation regarding title/ownership transfer in real estate involves detailed processes.

As a result, it’s crucial to involve an attorney who has training and experience in this area. We have the knowhow to make your title/ownership transaction go as smoothly as possible. Read on to understand how the process works.

Basics of Title/Ownership Law in Canada

Before we address the details of title/ownership transactions, we’ll need to lay the groundwork with a few definitions. What is a title, and what does it mean to transfer one? 

A title is a legal document that proves a person has the right to ownership of a property.

A title transfer refers to a process in which two parties complete a transaction involving the ownership of a piece of property. They sign a purchase agreement and exchange a consideration of value. Then, the change of possession can occur.

Types of Titles/Ownership in Canada

There are several types of titles in Canada. These include freehold, leasehold and life estate ownership. Let’s take a look at what makes each kind unique.

Freehold property is land or a building you own outright. No one else has a right to it, and you possess it perpetually, with the privilege of passing it on to your heirs. You can also transfer it if you choose.

With leasehold ownership, you have rights to the property only for the length of the lease. Durations vary significantly, from just a few years to more than 100. In some cases, you own the house, condo or townhouse, but not the land it sits on.

You can typically transfer the property during the duration of a lease. However, if the term runs out during your occupancy, you’ll need to renegotiate.

Life estate ownership means you possess the property until you die. When you pass away, the rights automatically transfer back to the freehold owner or to the person designated to inherit it.

In life estate ownership, the person who receives the property after your death is called a remainderman. This type of transfer often serves to facilitate the process of passing land on to your heirs. Some people also use this approach to allow a surviving spouse to retain ownership after their passing.

Ownership Change for Those with a Mortgage

Ownership Change for Those with a Mortgage

Selling a property with a mortgage is more complicated than changing ownership of one that you own free and clear. Before initiating a transfer of title/ownership, you must get the lender’s approval. 

Home loans have a “due on sale” clause that says the lender can call in the mortgage if they disagree with a title transfer. Once you have their approval, you can start the process of changing ownership. You’ll need the help of a real estate lawyer to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Need help with title/ownership transfers? Consult with a real estate lawyer from Diamond & Diamond today.

What Happens in the Title Transfer Process?

The process begins when a real estate lawyer receives a request to carry out a land ownership transfer. The attorney then requests a copy of the existing title.

Next, the lawyer needs to obtain the legal description of the property. If you’re selling and don’t understand what’s involved, there’s no need to worry. The attorney will perform the searches necessary to get the required information.

After this, the lawyer drafts land transfer paperwork. If you’re the party requesting the change of ownership, you need to sign this document. You act as the transferor in this transaction.

The person receiving the title is called the transferee. They must swear an affidavit of value. Witnesses are necessary at the time of finalization (execution).

The signed documents must then go to the Land Title Office. There, employees register the transaction, and the transferee officially becomes the new owner.

Contact a Diamond & Diamond Real Estate Lawyer Now for Title/Ownership Transfers

Diamond & Diamond has a team of experienced lawyers who can expertly handle the transfer of title/ownership in real estate. If you’re not sure what services you might need, we offer a free consultation.

Need an instant quote? We can get that for you, too. These services are available at any of our Ontario offices. For more information or to schedule your free consultation, call 1-888-INFO-LAW.


Your real estate lawyer can prepare title/ownership transfer documents in just a few days, but the registration process at the Land Title Office may take a few weeks.

FAQs on Title/Ownership Transfer

  1. What is a legal description of a property?

A legal description includes precise information about where the property is located. It typically includes numbers representing the parcel, section, identifier and lot or partial lot involved in the transfer.

  1. What does a title search mean?

A title search investigates the history of a property. It serves as protection for the buyer by showing whether the seller can legally transfer ownership. The transferee can also discover any mortgages or leases that might affect their rights after purchase.

  1. What is the purpose of the land transfer document?

This document declares your intention to transfer the property. It provides the legal basis for the transaction. If you’re selling or otherwise changing ownership, we can organize all the documentation you need.

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