Real Property Reports - Rules of Practice for Lawyers
Purpose: This bulletin explains the recommended rules of practice for Alberta lawyers with respect to the provision and handling of Real Property Reports in real estate transactions.
This bulletin applies to all industry professionals.
The Real Property Report (RPRs) is a legal document prepared by an Alberta Land Surveyor that illustrates property boundaries and improvements (structures) relative to the boundaries. RPRs are important to buyers and sellers when buying or selling an exclusive right to land.
Canadian Bar Association RPR Rules of Practice
These Rules include:
- you cannot compel a buyer’s lawyer to proceed to registration without an opportunity for the lawyer to review the RPR
- an original or a photocopy of a Certificate of Compliance from the municipality with a clear and legible RPR, satisfies the requirements of the standard residential real estate purchase contract in Alberta
- the age of the RPR and date of the Certificate of Compliance is not relevant as long as the RPR reflects the current improvements to the property
- if the date on the RPR is prior to the date of final acceptance of the purchase contract, the seller’s lawyer will have the seller sign a Statutory Declaration whether there are any improvements to the property since the date of the RPR
- the exclusion of sidewalks, driveways, landings on RPRs cannot be used as a reason to refuse the document as long as the RPR was completed in accordance with the Alberta Land Surveyor's Manual of Standard Practice at the time the RPR was surveyed
- the provision of an RPR that was completed during the construction stage will not in and of itself be deemed not to comply with the requirements of the purchase contract as long as the RPR shows all current improvements
- the removal of an improvement will not require an RPR update
- all fences in urban areas must be shown on an RPR if they appear to define a boundary, regardless of who built the fence or if the fence is actually on the property line
- a Certificate of Compliance on an RPR does not guarantee there are no other building location issues that may need to be addressed
- if an unpermitted encroachment exists from the seller's property into neighboring lands or municipal lands, the seller's lawyer will use their best efforts to resolve the matter
- if an RPR discloses that a third party adjacent property owner has an encroachment onto the seller's land, it does not constitute a breach of seller's warranties and the seller is not required to obtain an encroachment agreement
- both the seller's lawyer and the buyer's lawyer should address the availability and adequacy of the RPR immediately on receiving instructions to act on a file
- it is unethical for the seller's lawyer to provide a survey, plot plan or RPR, which they know to be inadequate without bringing the deficiencies to the attention of the buyer's lawyer