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The Nova Scotia Government has converted its land registration records from a paper-based system to an electronic system.

To do this, all parcels of land in Nova Scotia have been mapped and provided with an eight-digit parcel identification number (PID). After conversion, a parcel register is established for each parcel and all future registrations affecting that parcel will be identified in this parcel register. The parcel registers will be kept current so that when ownership changes, or mortgages or other encumbrances are recorded or released, the ownership or encumbrance, which is no longer applicable, will be removed from the parcel register. This means that a review of the parcel register will provide the current, up-dated status with respect to that property. The accuracy of the system and hence the validity of title is mandated by the Land Registration Act (LRA) and regulations by the Provincial Government. Similar systems have been in place in many provinces for decades. 

The Land Registration Act requires a property owner to convert their property from the former Registry System into the Land Registration System when they sell, mortgage or subdivide the property. Unless, and until, one of the triggering provisions is encountered there is no obligation to convert the property.   However, a voluntary conversion of the property can occur at any time. The advantage of a voluntary conversion is that it avoids the risk that a delay on conversion may delay a closing, and limits the possibility of an adverse possession claim against your lands.

In every county to date, both the lawyers who have been completing the conversions, and the Registry office staff who are facilitating the process on behalf of the Province, have been subject to steep learning curves. It is not uncommon for errors to appear in submissions—particularly in submissions completed by lawyers who are inexperienced with the new system. The government allows five days for processing the two parts of the conversion process, but if an error is found, the clock starts over again. Any missteps therefore cause delays in your closing.

Because of this, lenders, realtors, assessors, developers, lawyers, and surveyors are advised to engage a law firm that is experienced with the new land registration conversions.

BOYNECLARKE LLP lawyers have received special training to conduct the conversions. We have conducted considerably more of these conversions than any other Halifax firm. When BOYNECLARKE LLP handles your property migration, it’s not only done right the first time, but we also make every effort to clear off any outstanding interests (such as an old mortgage which was paid out without a formal release being registered) prior to conversion.  This ensures the homeowner will have little trouble when it comes time to sell or mortgage the property in the future.

For more information about the conversion of the Province’s land registration system to digital format, go to: http://www.novascotia.ca/sns/access/land/land-services-information/land-registry.asp

This information has been provided for general reference only. For advice on an actual matter, you should consult a lawyer. To contact a member of our team call us at 902-469-9500 or 1-866-339-3400 or contact us online to make an appointment.