Title Searches on Property
The laymen definition of a title search is a land search, or property search that reveals the legal description, owner names and address, mortgage, registered Builders Liens and other charges against a property. A title search is a great search tool for collecting background information about a current or possible job site. A land title is associated with each property. As a rule, one civic address will be associated with a specific land title when doing a title search.
By pulling a land title search you can gain insight into what is happening with a particular project. For example, the presence of a Builders' Lien on the title may indicate that the project taking place is having difficulty paying its contractors. Prior to working on a new site it is wise to pull a Title Search.
What information can you expect with a Title Search?
A Title Search confirms who owns the property - ownership of a property can become an issue in the event that you need to place a property lien. For example, on large scale projects, such as a strip mall, you may not actually be doing work for the property owner, but for someone who has a leasehold interest. If this is the case and you need to lien, the lien must be registered against the leasehold interest and not the property owner. If you do not have correct information and lien the property owner, this can result in the lien being invalid or the property owner suing you. To avoid this potential issue, be sure you know who you are working for and how they are associated with the property with a Title Search.
A Title Search reveals any liens registered against the property - If a title has builders' liens registered against it, this is not a good sign. The presence of liens likely indicates that there are financial problems with the property. For example, if you are doing work on a new residential development and you pull a title for a house within the development you were working on and you see multiple liens, it likely suggests that there are funding problems and can potentially indicate that the developer may be close to bankruptcy or going into receivership. If this is the case, a lien should be filed right away so you can be listed on the title as a secured interest holder.
A Title Search determines your eligibility to file a lien - In British Columbia there are certain cases in which you may be unable to file a Builders' Lien. This is because of a special "Notice" that may be present on a land title. If a "Notice of Interest" is filed under the Builders' Lien Act you are unable to file a lien unless you have been directly hired by the property owner or have their express consent to perform the work. If a Notice of Interest is filed, it will be present under the Legal Notations section of the land title. It is best to perform a Title Search to determine if you are eligible to file a Lien.
What are the costs of a Title Search?
Title searches can be conducted at any time. You do not have to be already working on site to pull a copy of the land title. Please contact our Lien-Pro team to learn more about setting up a search account with us.