LEGAL JARGON TRANSLATED INTO PLAIN ENGLISH
There are many legal terms that you may encounter during the course of your transaction. This article will deal with some of the most common.
Agreement of Purchase and Sale:
This is the name given to the contract between a seller and purchaser of a property. A FIRM AGREEMENT is one that is binding on all parties while a CONDITIONAL AGREEMENT is one that will not be firm until the occurrence of a stated event. If the condition is not met within a set period of time, the agreement is at an end. A common example of a conditional agreement is when the transaction is conditional on financing.
This is the term given to the transfer of property between two parties. In the past the document that was registered in the Land Registry Office in order to record this change the ownership of property was called a DEED. However since 1984 the document has been called a TRANSFER.
An article of personal property that has been so attached to real property that it is regarded as a part of the land. An example of a fixture is the light coverings of a home, which are of course referred to as "lighting fixtures". It is not always this easy to tell if something is a fixture or not and is the subject of a previous article of mine. If you are in doubt as to whether an object is a fixture or a chattel, you should speak to your lawyer.
A metric unit of square measurement equal to 2.471 acres. Most new properties are being surveyed in metric units so if you are used to acres and want a comparison, divide the number of hectares by 2.471 to get the acreage.
This phrase defines the home where parties live together as husband and wife. There are special rules that govern transactions involving the matrimonial home. These rules are most complicated when the family unit is no longer together. If this applies to your sale, please make your lawyer aware of it as early as possible.
Power of Attorney:
The phrase describing a document which authorizes another person to act as your agent. It is possible to make the power very general, or you can limit the power to very specific actions such as signing documents relating to a property purchase or sale.
There are two ways that you can take title to a property. The most commonly used is called JOINT TENANCY. This means that each title holder has the same interest in the property and on the death of a joint tenant the title to the property will pass to the surviving tenants. In contrast, when property is held by the owners as TENANTS IN COMMON the interest in a property does not terminate when that person dies. The estate of the deceased will continue to be a tenant in common and can deal with the interest that the deceased had in the property. In most cases it is desirable to take title as joint tenants but you should speak to your lawyer if you have any questions.
Legal terminology, and the law in general, can be confusing and proceeding without knowing the legal outcome of your actions is risky. Remember that this article is only meant to provide general advice and not any specific legal questions. If you have any legal issues please remember that no one but your lawyer is qualified to give you legal advice.
Bernie Jankowski practices real estate, corporate and estates law in Barrie, Ontario. If you have questions about this article or real estate law in general, write to That's The Law, c/o Toronto Sun, 333 King St. E., Toronto, M5A 3X5.
Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public
48 Alliance Blvd., Suite B1,
Barrie, Ontario, Canada,
Phone: (705) 735-6975
Facsimile: (705) 735-4977