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Real Estate Subcommittee

Real Estate Subcommittee Mandate 

The Hamilton Law Association's Real Estate Subcommittee exists to advise on matters pertaining to Real Estate that are relevant to the HLA Board or Committees, and Hamilton area Real Estate lawyers.  The subcommittee meets six times per year on Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. at the John Sopinka Court House in the 5th Floor Boardroom.  Those interested in joining the committee are invited to contact the Chair.

2019-2020 Subcommittee Members:

Looking for an opinion or guidance on a real estate matter?  The following members of the HLA Real Estate Subcommittee are available by phone or email:    

Li Cheng, Li Cheng Professional Corporation 289-639-8080
Maria DurdanSimpsonWigle Law LLP 905-528-8411
David A. Elliot, Agro Zaffiro LLP 905-527-6877 
Mark R. Giavedoni, (Chair) Gowling WLG 905-523-5666 
 Samantha GrilliHarbour Legal  905-526-4250
Brian HurrenInch Hammond Professional Corporation 905-525-4481
Thomas Lazier, Ross & McBride LLP 905-526-9800 
W Patric Mackesy, Mackesy Smye LLP 905-525-2341 
Gregory Mallia, Regency Law Group 905-383-0500
John P. Millar, Millar, Alexander 905-528-1186 
Bilal Mirza, SimpsonWigle LAW LLP 905-528-8411
Catherine Roberts, Roberts Law 905-627-3500 x1
Bruno Uggenti, Campbell Mihailovich Uggenti LLP 905-318-7717

To speak to an HLA staff person regarding the Real Estate Subcommittee, please contact:
Wendy Spearing, Manager of Finance
tel: 905-522-1563, email: wspearing@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

APRIL 1 | Real Estate Update

Apr 01, 2020

In an effort to keep real estate lawyers updated with the ever-changing situation, we have further information to be shared with the real estate lawyers in your association.

LRO Notice to Clients

The provincial government has issued a Notice to Land Registration System Clients confirming that Teraview continues to run for both search and registration, OnLand continues to run for search and various request functions, and that the all land registry offices are scheduled to be open from Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

The Notice can be found in English and French on our website here.

Law Society CPD

The replay of the Law Society free audio webcast from Friday, March 27 entitled “Your Real Estate Practice and the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know Right Now” is now available.

The link to the audio program is here and the link to the resource materials is here.

Lawyer Done Deal Remote Signing

Lawyer Done Deal has created a remote signing portal for lawyers where you can post documents to clients, host virtual closing meetings and view client signing activity, all while meeting social distancing and legal obligations. This portal is being offered free to all lawyers, whether or not you already have a LDD or RealtiWeb account. 

They are also working on including a client verification element that will be Fintrac compliant. More information is available on the LDD website here.

Expiry of Drivers Licences and Passports

What happens if a client’s ID has recently expired or will expire this month?  Renewals of passports and driver’s licences are currently suspended, so clients will not be able to get new ones while this pandemic continues. 

The Ontario government has extended the validity and expiration date of driver’s licences and Ontario Photo Cards. See here for more details.  We think this means that you should still be able to accept an Ontario driver’s licences as valid identification, even if the expiry date has passed.

Information on the Government of Canada Passport Services can be found here.


A new Tarion Advisory was published on March 26 in response to the Emergency Order passed by the provincial government suspending limitation periods.  Tarion has suspended all warranty claim submission deadlines – the 30 day, year end, second year, major structural defect, delayed closing, financial loss and deposit claims deadlines have all been suspended.  Once the Emergency Order has been lifted, homeowners will receive a reasonable extension to submit their forms.  Tarion has also suspended timelines relating to builder repair periods, except for emergencies or health and safety issues.

The March 26, 2020 Tarion Advisory can be found here

Letter to MCAP

FOLA’s letter of March 26, 2020 regarding MCAP’s recent decision to close all refinance transactions through either FCT or FNF is posted on our website here

Working Group Fees, Disbursements & Taxes Calculator

Given the additional work that lawyers and their staff are doing in order to complete transactions during these challenging circumstances, many lawyers might be reviewing the amount of legal fees they are charging.

The Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate has a Suggested Fee Schedule, which can be found here

In addition, they have now added a Fees, Disbursements & Taxes Calculator on their website which can be accessed here.

This new calculator does many things, simply by answering a few questions. 

Once you enter the value of the transaction, if you indicate your quoted fee, it will compare it to the suggested fee schedule, as a % of all costs and to the HST on the real estate agent's fees, which is great for marketing.

It will also:

  • calculate the LTT
  • calculate the MLTT (for Toronto properties)
  • calculate the first-time homebuyer rebates for LTT & MLTT
  • calculate the NRST (for GGH properties)
  • estimate the disbursements (suggestions provided but fully editable on the disbursements tab)
  • calculate for a purchase, a sale or a mortgage-only transaction
  • provide a personalized 2-page printout of the summary and estimates disbursements, which can be reviewed with or emailed to clients

MARCH 26 | Land Registry Offices, Law Society Program, and Real Estate Update

Mar 26, 2020

Law Society CPD

There is a Law Society free audio webcast on Friday, March 27 entitled “Your Real Estate Practice and the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know Right Now.” Click here for more details.

We understand that the live program is now full.  The Law Society is replaying the program on April 1, 2 and 3. See the LSO CPD calendar here for more details.

Teraview and Land Registry Operations

You can expect some changes in the operation of the Land Registry Offices.  We urge you to be patient, to explain to your clients the uncertainties and delays which may occur and to be prepared with tools like the Lawyer’s Delayed Closing Escrow Agreement prepared by the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate, which can be found here.

This is the unofficial information we have received:

  • Teraview® and ONLand are still up and running and will continue to stay up during all normal hours! 
  • All physical Land Registry Offices have commenced reduced hours 9:30 to 12:30. If you need to do anything in paper you should verify the status of your local LRO.
  • Some physical LROs (mostly in Eastern Ontario) are still closing ad hoc. For the moment there is no work-around, but efforts are ongoing. The situation is unpredictable at best so lawyers and clients should be prepared to adapt. The list of unanticipated LRO closings is growing, not shrinking. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that non-convert deals will be registered.
  • For the time being it seems the volume of registrations in Teraview® are up, but certification rates are down to a crawl. Starting tomorrow, March 26th we expect that the LRO’s will move to much more stringent social distancing so even lower certification rates will likely result.

Banking Issues

We have reached out to the Law Society for assistance and we understand that they are contacting the financial industry and federal and provincial politicians regarding the following concerns:

  • Most banks are not accepting scanned documents for mortgage closings – and mortgage instructions require lawyers to be in the physical presence of borrowers, so even if we meet remotely, we need to be physically in the same room to sign the documents.
  • Lenders are not allowing lawyers to wire mortgage discharge funds, even though many bank branches are closed and those that are open are working on reduced hours.
  • Some lenders are now requiring all refinances to go through FCT or FNF, meaning borrowers will not have any legal representation.

There is a global pandemic with health and safety protocols to be followed. Remaining inflexible, requiring people to put themselves at risk and denying borrowers legal counsel is unconscionable.

Title Insurance

We strongly urge lawyers to think about the title insurers they are working with – is your preferred title insurer actively lobbying banks and government to remove lawyers from the real estate transaction? Are they marketing their ability to perform legal services that you ordinarily provide?  If so, the premiums you send them are funding these lobbying and marketing efforts.

There are title insurance companies, like TitlePLUS and Stewart Title, who are actively working to keep lawyers involved in real estate transactions, especially during these unprecedented times. 


Section 10 of the Document Registration Agreement (reproduced below) requires original documents to be provided within 2 business days of closing. You may want to consider amending this to either eliminate the need to send originals or extend the time frame.

This Agreement (or any counterpart hereof), and any of the closing documents herein before contemplated, may be exchanged by telefax or similar system reproducing the original, provided that all such documents have been properly executed by the appropriate parties. The party transmitting any such document(s) shall also provide the original executed version(s) of same to the recipient within 2 business days after the Closing Date, unless the recipient has indicated that he/she does not require such original copies.

Sending Closing Funds

Because many lawyers are now wiring purchase funds to the other lawyer whenever possible, a separate cheque is not being written to the mortgage lender for the discharge amount - the full balance is being delivered to the vendor’s lawyer with reliance on their undertaking to payout and discharge the mortgage. 

The Law Society guidelines recommend a separate cheque payable to the lender for the discharge amount to protect against fraud - lawyers who receive the funds but don’t pass them along to the lender, and consequently never receive a discharge.  You may be aware that there have been a few lawyers over the years who have gotten into some kind of trouble and who did this. It has been rare, but it has happened.

Given the current situation, there may be a greater risk of this happening if deals are not closing and people begin to feel desperate. Bills still need to be paid, and if there are fewer transactions closing, there may be a temptation to “borrow” the money sent for a discharge. 

If you are sending the full balance due to the lawyer on closing, you may want to consider amending your closing procedure to request evidence that the funds have been forwarded to the lender.

Corporate Amalgamations and Amendments

We have been advised that the only ServiceOntario office accepting amalgamations or amendments for Ontario companies, which need to be filed in person at the counter, is the Bay Street office in Toronto.

Land Transfer Tax pre-payments

We have also been advised that the Ministry of Finance is also no longer accepting payment of Land Transfer Tax at the Oshawa office. Pre-payments of LTT were done when you didn’t want to include the consideration on the transfer but rather simply include a statement that LTT was pre-paid.  For workarounds, you should contact the Ministry of Finance.


HLA Real Estate Events

The Real Estate Subcommittee welcomes suggestions and ideas for future seminar topics.  Please contact the Subcommittee Chair as noted above.


May 07


Real Estate Workshop - Cottage Purchase Transactions: Issues and Strategies


For more information in this regard, contact Shega Berisha at sberisha@hamiltonlaw.on.ca.

Best Practices

Standardized Real Estate Documents 

At the 2017 May Plenary of the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, the below standardized real estate closing documents were endorsed by all 46 County Law Associations in the Province of Ontario, including The Hamilton Law Association. We encourage the use of these documents on residential real estate transactions created pursuant to an OREA standard form of contract. The rationale document supporting the use of these documents can be found at www.lawyersworkinggroup.com and the use of standardized documents for these transactions has been strongly encouraged by LawPRO and the current Director of Titles.

Non-Resident Speculation Tax

New Housing Rebate Forms

Canadian Bankers Association

Other Resources & Practice Aids

Teraview Now Available on the Web - Hamilton

Nov 20, 2017

Teraview on the Web goes live in Hamilton (Wentworth) LRO 62 beginning January 8th, 2018. Hamilton will be one of the first regions in Ontario who will benefit from the new system roll-out.

Teraview is your secure one-stop solution to accessing data in the Government of Ontario’s land records database, and is used by lawyers, paralegals, title searchers, search houses, title insurers, financial institutions and government. You can perform searches, create and submit title documents for registration, view and print instruments, plans, official parcel registers and search for writs of execution quickly and easily, without having to visit a ServiceOntario Office. You can even access information after ServiceOntario office business hours.

Please note the schedule of dates below:

1. November 20, 2017 - Getting Started Tasks Begin
2. January 8, 2018 - Teraview on the Web goes live in your Region
3. February 19, 2018 - Teraview 9.0 is retired in your Region

For more information, please visit: http://www.teraview.ca/en/home/