Real estate and Property on PEI

Based on information provided by Community Legal Information Association of PEI.
Buying or selling a home is often the largest financial decision a person makes in their lifetime. Property transactions are perceived as "routine", but significant amounts of money and risk are involved.
Special Notes
Lawyers do not check the physical aspects of properties. For example, lawyers cannot check municipal setbacks and permits (e.g.: whether a deck was legally built).
Individuals residing outside of PEI:
People who do not live on PEI (but would like to own property on PEI) are restricted by the Lands Protection Act. An individual residing outside of PEI usually cannot purchase more than 5 acres of land or 165 feet of shore frontage without special approval by the government. There can be exceptions.
Joint Tenancy or Tenants in Common:
If you wish to own the property with another person, you must decide whether you want to hold the property as joint tenants or tenants in common. Joint tenancy is ownership that means if one owner dies, the other owner immediately owns the deceased’s share of the property. Tenants in common is ownership that means if one owner dies, that owner’s share is distributed to his/her heirs according to their will or the Probate Act. Most legally married or “common law” spouses have joint tenancy of the marital home. In cases where land is shared by siblings, it is common for the siblings to be tenants in common, with each share of the property going to each owner’s heirs.
Title Insurance:
One decision the buyer must make is whether to purchase title insurance. Banks and mortgage companies will want either a plot plan survey showing the house/buildings or they will want a title insurance policy. There are benefits to having title insurance even if you aren't using a mortgage or if you have a plot plan survey. Title insurance can protect you against fraud, survey errors, underground issues, encroachments, and many other problems. It can be a very wise investment.
Shorefront Property:
Generally speaking, a building cannot be built within "75 feet (22.9 metres), or 60 times the annual rate of erosion" of a beach or bank. Because of this, you (or the person to whom you sell the land) may not be able to get a building permit. The "annual rate of erosion" is based on where the land is located on PEI. If you are interested in buying shorefront property, include a condition in the sale agreement that a proper assessment (site suitability and building permit) is required.
Vacant Land:
If you plan on building on vacant land, the land purchase should be conditional on successfully getting a building permit and a “perc” test (septic field soil percolation test), among other things, depending on the circumstances. A building permit is good for two years. The riskin not making the purchase conditional on these items is that, if you wait a few years, you could find that you cannot build on the land.
Community Legal Information Association of PEI Inc. (CLIA) is a charitable organization that receives funding from Justice Canada, the Prince Edward Island Office of the Attorney General, the Law Foundation of PEI and other sources. CLIA provides Islanders with understandable and useful information about the law and the justice system in Prince Edward Island.

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