Becoming a homeowner or landowner is both a thrilling and stressful experience. You should get all the information you can garner about your property, including any property survey records available, first so you can make sure that you're prepared. Every jurisdiction in the world handles land surveys differently, and the Canadian province of Ontario is no exception. There are a few ways to go about obtaining a land survey, though.
What Is a Land Survey?
According to the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors, land surveys provide those who own property with accurate, reliable information about the size and shape of their property. Essentially, it's a drawing or rendering that shows exactly where the boundaries of a property are located. Sometimes, these drawings or renderings include other features.
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Surveys are important in real estate, taxation and other similar fields. Sometimes, banks or title companies may require a land survey to close on a property. If you wish to build or make changes and improvements to your property, you may also need a land survey. This is especially true if you plan to install a fence.
Having an accurate land survey helps protect you as a property owner as well as your investment. It can prevent others from infringing on your property or you from doing the same to your neighbor's. It can also ensure that you're taxed properly and avoid issues in the future.
Land Survey Records Ontario
One thing that is important to note is that not all Ontario properties have land surveys. If a land survey was never required, it would not exist. Unfortunately, if that's the case for your land and you need a survey, you will likely have to pay for one yourself. Contact the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors to learn more.
The chances are good that one does exist, however. This is especially true if changes have been made to your property or if your property has been bought, sold or exchanged through probate in the last few decades.
Finding Property Survey Records
The easiest place to look is online. Ontario makes many land registry services available through its OnLand website. You can search municipalities, addresses, documents, historical records and more. That being said, this is not a perfect service. Even if you can't find it online, though, a survey may still exist.
The best way to get a land survey in Ontario is to visit a ServiceOntario counter. Make sure that the location you visit has someone who specializes in land surveys on duty. Be aware that fees may apply to access these records or request a search.
It's also important to note that surveys don't have to be registered with the government whenever they're taken. A builder or other professional may requisition a survey for their own purposes without registering it afterward.
Other Ways to Find a Land Survey
There are a few other ways to go about finding and accessing a land survey. If you're buying a property, it is within your rights to request a survey from the current owners or sellers. However, it's a wise idea, especially since it will likely fall on them to have one done if it doesn't already exist.
If your home is relatively new, the builder may also have records of land surveys. Land surveys are almost always required for construction projects of any kind, so the chances are good that the builder may have one. Even if they don't, you may be able to find out who they used to do the survey and contact them.
Consider also: How to Choose a Land Surveyor