Terminology

In order to assist our clients understand the words and terms they may hear while buying or selling a home, we have prepared the following definitions. If any terms are missing, please let us know.

Adjustment Date: Date on which the Vendor and Purchaser have agreed to share any liabilities which may be attached to the property. The most common example is property taxes, which are paid yearly. In most situations, the Vendor is responsible for the portion of the taxes from January 1 up to but not including the adjustment date. The purchaser is responsible for the taxes from the adjustment date to the end of the year.
Amortization Period: The length of time that it will take to pay off a loan when making equal monthly payments (including interest).
Assignment of Rents: A charge registered against title allowing a lender to collect rent directly from a tenant if there is a default under a mortgage.
Assignee: (Transferee) person who receives interest in property in exchange for legal consideration (payment).
Assignor: (Transferor) person who gives interest in property in exchange for legal consideration (payment).
Certificate of Pending Litigation: A document registered against title to a property which indicates that a law suit has been commenced. The person who started the law suit and filed the Certificate of Pending Litigation is claiming an interest in the property.
Civic Address: Street address of the property.
Claim of Builder’s Lien: Claim for materials supplied and/or work done by a contractor. The claim is registered against the property and is valid for one year from the date of registration.
Clear Title: A property that is not subject to any financial encumbrances. There is no money owing against the property.
Completion Date: The date when the documents necessary to transfer title must be registered in the Land Title Office. Also called the Closing Date. This is also the date when the money changes hands.
Contract of Purchase And Sale: The agreement executed by the Vendor and the Purchaser outlining the terms upon which the Property is to be transfered. This is a binding Contract containing the conditions of sale.
Conveyance: The process involving the transfer of ownship of property from the Vendor to the Purchaser (including the preparation, execution and registration of documents to effect the transfer).
Covenant: See Restrictive Covenant.
Deposit: Money paid by the Purchaser to the Vendor or the Purchaser’s real estate agent at the time of signing the Contract of Purchase and Sale.
Duplicate Certificate of Title: A duplicate of the Certificate of Title is a document which may be issued by the Land Title Office, but only at the request of the registered owner and only if the property is free from any encumbrances, i.e. no Mortgages or Agreements for Sale registered against the property. The duplicate Certificate of Title must be returned to the LTO before any further documents are registered on the title.
Easement: A benefit which owners of one piece of property have over an adjoining piece of property.
Equity: The amount of the money left over after subtracting the amounts owing on all financial charges registered against the property from the fair market value.
Foreclosure Action: A law suit commenced in Supreme Court by a mortgagee (lender) once a default occurs in a mortgage.
Form B: This is the part of the mortgage which shows the details of the mortgage. This is where the terms of the mortgage (names, amount borrowed, length of term, interest rate, etc.) are displayed.
Guarantor: A person guaranteeing performance of certain obligations by another person. Also refered to as a Covenantor.
Infant: In British Columbia, a person under 19 years of age.
Joint Tenants: A form of ownership of property. In this form, parties have an equal undivided interest with a right of survivorship. The right of survivorship simply means that when an owner becomes deceased, their ownership passes to the survivor, regardless of any terms in a Will. This form of ownership is frequently used when family members (husband and wife) acquire property.
Legal Description: Description of real property as recorded in the Land Title Office (not the street address).
Mortgage: A document which represents a loan secured by land. These are almost always registered in the Land Title Office as a financial charge. A mortgage is comprised of two parts, the Form B and the Standard Mortgage Terms. These are defined elsewhere.
Mortgagee: The person or company who has lent money to a borrower.
Mortgagor: The person or company who has pledged land or property as security to ensure repayment of the debt to the Mortgagee.
Option to Purchase: Right conferred by agreement to accept or reject an offer to buy property within a certain time.
Possession Date: Date on which the Purchaser is entitled to move in and take physical possession of the property, usually the same day as Adjustment Date and after Completion Date.
Power of Attorney: A document allowing one person to execute documents on behalf of another. If a Power of Attorney is used, the original must be filed at the Land Title Office.
Priority Agreement: Agreement to postpone a claim, putting one party’s claim ahead of another.
Purchaser: The person buying the property, who will be registered as the new owner after registering the transfer document.
Restrictive Covenant: A charge registered on title to land which documents a promise made by the Owner to another not to do certain things on the Owner’s land.
Right of First Refusal: Agreement giving a party rights to make an offer on property if a sale is pending.
Right of Way: A charge registered on title allowing a party access rights to the property. A Right of Way is limited to certain benefits, such as power poles, telephone poles, sewer, etc. and can only be filed by persons defined in the Land Title Act.
Standard Mortgage Terms: This is the part of the mortgage which is standard to most mortgages. This part outlines the 5 basic obligations of the mortgage, and imposes a personal covenant to pay on the Borrowers.
State of Title Certificate: A certified copy of title issued by the Registrar of the Land Title Office of the ownership and state of the title as of a given date and time.
Statement of Adjustments: A document for each of the Purchaser and Vendor showing how much the Purchaser must pay and how much the Vendor will receive.
Statutory Building Scheme: A charge registered against the property showing limitations as to what buildings, etc. can be built on a property.
Survey Certificate: A drawing prepared and signed by a BC Land Surveyor which identifies the boundaries of the property and the location of the home inside the property lines.
Tenants in Common: A form of ownership of the property. Unlike Joint Tenants, there is no right of survivorship. What this means is that each party on title may leave their interest to whomever they choose in their Will. This form of ownership is frequently used when business partners (not family members) acquire property.
Title Insurance: See Title Insurance.
Vendor: The person who is selling the property.