Modernization of Nova Scotia’s land title system – How will it impact you!

by Tim Harris on January 24, 2005

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Catherine D.A. Watson a top Real Estate lawyer for Boyne Clarke in Halifax has kindly contributed an article on the new Land Registration Act that is coming to Lunenburg County on March 1, 2005.

What does it mean to you?

• A better system of land registration.
• More costs to the property owner in the transition period to convert their titles to the new system.
• More time required for each transaction during the transition period.
When will these changes start to impact on you?

• The Land Registration Act is rolling out by county; coming to Lunenburg County on March 1, 2005.
• To see when your county will be impacted go to

To find out more about the benefits, costs, and to read the full article on this subject, just click “EXPAND THIS POST”

What Is The LRA?

• The Land Registration Act (hereinafter called “LRA”) is a piece of provincial legislation that will convert all parcels of land in the province to a system that features;

• A guarantee of the basic ownership of registered parcels; and
• Electronic access to parcel information & other electronic functions

What will be different? (The following are some of the benefits of the new system)

• No need to search behind registered owner. This means that there will no longer be any need to do a full forty-year search of title to a property. The state of ownership and encumbrances will be fully disclosed by a simple on-line search. Consequently, each property owner will save the cost of a full search, which pre-LRA had to be performed whenever a property changed hands at a cost of several hundred dollars each time.
• All information stored by a Property Identification Number and not by owner’s name.
• All information in regard to property stored online except for new judgments and overriding interests such as municipal restrictions and taxes.
• Ownership of a parcel of land is guaranteed. In other words, if the information shown in the on-line search is incorrect, the Province and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society share the liability for this; the property owner, purchaser, or lender will not bear any of the costs of any such error.
•. All searching will be done quickly and efficiently online

When do we have to convert? (Triggers & Exemptions)

Triggers ( (when you have to convert your property)

• Transfer for value. All purchases/sales fall into this category.
•. Mortgages – including amendments & assumptions. For example, if you are simply renewing your existing mortgage with no changes to the terms you will not have to convert. But if you are renewing and borrowing a greater amount of money, or refinancing altogether, you will have to convert.
• Non-family subdivisions of 3+ lots. You can subdivide a property into up to 3 lots (including the parent parcel) without having to convert.
• Court orders. This would include a situation where a court ordered that title was vested in a certain person, or any other court order the effectively changed title.
• New condo corporations.

Exemptions (when you don’t have to convert your property)

• Gifts & Bequests. You will not have to convert if you are transferring property purely as a gift to another person or their teenage kids. Nor will conversion be necessary if a property is left to a specific beneficiary in a Will.
• Family subdivisions. If you are subdividing for the sole purpose of transferring property to family members without any consideration (money) changing hands, you will not have to convert.
• Inter-spousal transfers. Transfers between persons married to each other are always exempt.
• NSFLB transfers.
• Deeds that correct a gap in title.

What exactly is a “conversion”, and why do I care if I have to do it?

• A conversion is the process of moving a parcel from the old system to the new Land Registry System
• A conversion is performed by your lawyer, and costs money. Our firm charges $750.00 plus HST, which is inclusive of all fees, disbursements, and taxes.
• This cost is borne by the property owner in addition to the cost of the fees for or refinance, as the case may be.
• The cost of the conversion is an amount paid to your lawyer for the fees and disbursements involved in undertaking the last full forty-year search, and for guaranteeing to the government the state of title of your parcel. In many cases certain issues will have to be cleaned up or corrected prior to such a guarantee being made.
• A straightforward conversion can take up to ten days; a complicated conversion can take longer. These time frames have to be worked into the time frame of your transaction. It is no longer possible to guarantee a very quick closing.
• The practice has evolved that is it the vendor, or the owner of the property, who will bear this cost.

What are the benefits

• Once all properties are converted, we will all benefit from a better, more efficient, land registry system.
• These advances will bring our system in line with those in most of the rest of Canada.
• The new system will be less costly for all, and transactions will be able to close very swiftly.
Want to know more?

Go to
Or call your real estate lawyer.

Catherine D.A. Watson
Boyne Clarke, Barristers & Solicitors
(902) 469-9500


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