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Notice on title legislation being considered by city on non-compliant properties

The City Building Inspector said currently property owners are given notice in writing encouraging them to correct whatever deficiency is identified well in advance of formally pursuing notice on title and bringing the matter before council. — The Nelson Daily photo

The city is looking to add another tool to its municipal arsenal.

Acting on the advisement of senior building inspector Sam Ellison, city council is considering creating a notice on title enforcement tool.

Ellison said the city’s ability to place notice on title on a property is something it will likely require in the future as it tries to deal with delinquent properties, and it needed to prepare the legal groundwork now to deal with them.

“A notice on title is an enforcement tool available to local governments for use against properties that are not in compliance with the city’s building bylaw or the provincial building code,” Ellison said in his report to council.

According to section 57 of the Community Charter, municipal governments are granted the authority to employ the notice on title enforcement action in order to encourage compliance on the city’s bylaws.

“In Nelson, property owners are given notice in writing encouraging them to correct whatever deficiency is identified well in advance of formally pursuing notice on title and bringing the matter before council,” said Ellison in his report to council.

He noted that city staff has identified a number of properties in Nelson that are potentially requiring the placement of notice on title, matters which will likely be coming to council.

The presentation by Ellison was received for information and the enforcement tool is now on the city’s radar.

Taking a shot at the title

According to its definition, notice on title is the document that brings to attention of anyone searching the title of a property that there are questions and deficiencies in the property, and it may be in violation of local government bylaws or regulations.

The notice on title also means it is subject to claims by parties other than the seller.

While properties with building bylaw contraventions may be sold at any time, the presence of a notice registered on title may negatively affect a property’s sale price, or cause issues with regard to financing or insurance.

The process to begin filing a notice on title through the Community Charter requires an initial recommendation from the building inspector to council, “to directing staff to file a notice on title, and the property owner must first be given the opportunity to be heard,” said Ellison.

Once the situation or condition on the property that elicited the notice on title has been corrected and has been given approval of the building inspector, the notice on title is removed through a cancellation or discharge notice filed with the registrar of land titles. However, the property owner is assessed a fee to recover the cost of the municipal administration time.

When employing the Community Charter to register a notice on the title of a property at the Land Title Office the notice will show up on a title search entitled “legal negotiations,” said Ellison.

Notice on title

Examples of when a notice on title might be appropriate include situations where:

  • A building permit is lapsed but work has not been completed and/or inspections are outstanding;
  • work proceeded with no permit; or
  • there is a dangerous condition.

— Source: City of Nelson