Legal Brief for June, 2024

Land Titles Office Fees

In the provincial budget announced on February 29th, 2024 the government gave notice that it plans to increase the registration fees charged by the Land Titles Office.  Although not totally unexpected, it was still a bit of a shock to see how much the government plans to raise the fees.  Under the new tariff the cost of registering a Transfer of Land or a Mortgage will more than double.

The current fee that is charged is based on a base fee of $50.00 plus an additional $2.00 for every $5,000.00 of value of the sale price or the amount of the mortgage that is being registered.  For a home purchase for $400,000.00 with a mortgage loan of $350,000.00 the total registration cost covering both documents is $400.00.

The proposed new fee structure will have the base fee staying at $50.00 but the amount for each additional $5,000.00 of value will increase to $5.00.  For the same purchase and mortgage of $400,000.00 and $350,000.00 the total registration cost under the new rates would be $950.00.

The government did not announce a date for when the changes would come into effect, so for the time being we are still operating under the existing system.  Perhaps the government is doing some consulting with stakeholders and users to decide whether to proceed with the new fees as announced or to see if they should be changed somewhat before being implemented.

I doubt that an increase of the amount as noted in my example would deter many home buyers from going ahead with a purchase, but it is still a significant jump to add an extra $550.00 to the cost of a home purchase.

At least the government has not given any indication that it is considering following the lead of British Columbia and Ontario and introducing a land transfer tax on real estate transactions.  Based on the figures used in the example there would be a transfer tax payable by the purchaser at a minimum of $4,000.00 and up to $8,000.00.  A tax of that nature would be a controversial move indeed if it was introduced in Alberta.  For the time being at least we can be thankful for small mercies.

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