The LTSA delivers secure land titles through timely, efficient registration of land title interests and survey records - services which are an essential underpinning to BC's private property market and justice system. These systems also support civic governance, taxation and Crown land management frameworks.
The LTSA is committed to protecting the security of land ownership records and documents in British Columbia. We accomplish this in the following ways:
- Our land title system is regarded as among the very best in the world. Land purchasers, sellers and owners can be confident that their rights and interests are protected.
- Registered titles to land offer assured ownership and allow for simple, quick and inexpensive land transfers.
- An available Assurance Fund compensates property owners in the very unlikely case that they are financially affected by a title registration error or become the innocent victim of title fraud.
- As of January 2017, the LTSA maintained a record of over 2.1 million titles and over 2.3 million active registered charges on those titles. In the past 10 years, the land title system received over 9.4 million registration transactions, yet there were only 2 instances where a homeowner lost title due to fraud and received compensation from the Assurance Fund for the amount of their losses.
- The land title system in BC is based on the Torrens registry system.
- The system states that only a person registered as owner has the right to transfer or otherwise deal with their legal title to land.
- Under the Torrens system, legal title to land can only be changed by the act of registration on a public register, and the issuance of a certificate of indefeasible title.
- A title that is indefeasible cannot be defeated, revoked or made void. Registration vests title in the land and certifies the indefeasibility of the title.
- There are a limited number of exceptions to the principle of indefeasibility; they are set out in the Land Title Act, the statute that governs BC's land title system.
As with any area of commerce, there may be people who want to misrepresent ownership of land.
Steps are taken to prevent this possibility:
- Lawyers and notaries public check their clients' identities before submitting documents to the LTSA.
- Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) rules require real estate brokers and agents to verify their clients' identities following specific guidelines, and they must keep a client information record for every purchase or sale of real estate.
- If some parties in a real estate transaction are not represented by a real estate broker, the broker/agent will need to verify those parties' identities.
- Financial institutions are required to verify their clients' identities for certain transactions following specific FINTRAC guidelines.
In April 2009, the BC Court of Appeal held that unless a mortgage is granted by the true owner of a property, the mortgage is invalid and the owner's title will be returned to its original state.
Through a lawyer, notary, land surveyor or registry agent, a property owner can take these further steps:
- Request title monitoring to alert when there is title activity using a service. This service available through myLTSA Enterprise provides an email notice when an application is made that may affect your title.
- Request a title search to obtain a copy of your title.
- Request a State of Title Certificate, which is a certified true copy of your title.