Land registration system

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Land registration system

In 1830, the State implemented the land registration system in order to ensure the protection of the land rights of Québec citizens. In fact, prior to that date, no form of publication of land or real property rights existed in Québec. Since real property transactions were not public, the opportunity for fraud existed. The State therefore created the land registration system to put an end to the secret nature of real property transactions, to avoid fraud and favour credit.


In 1841, the State made it mandatory for the contracting parties to register their transactions, thus making them public. Respecting this obligation means registering documents in the Land Register of Québec. Thus, only owners who hold a title of ownership registered or written in this register have their rights protected and this allows these right to be set up against third parties. The State entrusts the Land Registrar with the responsibility of ensuring the functioning of the system while respecting a rigorous legal and administrative framework. This process establishes the credibility of the Land Register of Québec and gains the trust of the Québec population seeking to protect their real property rights.

In 1860, the cadastre was created. The cadastre represents your property on a plan and identifies it by a lot number. Since then, real estate transactions have been published based on a lot, and not on a register of names.

In 1866, the State adopted the Civil Code of Lower Canada, the principal legislative text governing civil law, particularly the publication of rights.

In 1994, the Civil Code of Québec came into force. It then replaced the Civil Code of Lower Canada. Given its central role in the civil law system, the Civil Code is amended regularly, reflecting the evolution of society.

Rights can only be published in accordance with the legal framework of publication of rights, consisting of Book Nine of the Civil Code of Québec, more than sixty special laws and several regulations.

The purpose of publication of rights

Thanks to publication of rights, everyone can:

  • promote and ensure that everyone acknowledges his/her rights on an immovable;
  • protect those rights;
  • freely exercise his/her rights on this immovable.

The publication of rights system does not create or confer any rights. The fact of registering a transaction in a State registry does not give any rights over the object of this transaction. Rights arise from two parties signing an agreement or contract. However, entering a transaction or a contract in the Land Register of Québec results in making public the rights – sale, mortgage, servitude, and so on – that a natural person or a legal person holds on an immovable (hence the term publication of rights). Subsequently, no one can claim to be unaware of the existence of these rights acquired by this contract: the rights contained within may be set up against everyone.

From 2001 to 2003, the publication of rights system underwent a major transformation. Thanks to the development of state-of-the-art functionalities, legal professionals were able to register documents electronically by means of specialized tools. Those years also saw the beginning of gradual scanning and on-line posting of millions of pages of documents stored in the land registry offices on the website of the “on-line Land Register of Québec”. It is now possible to consult these documents without having to make a trip to a registry office.

By 2011, nearly the entire documentary legacy of the Land Register was accessible on-line.

In January 2012, the Land Register improved its electronic services by instituting the on-line requisition registration service. This service facilitates transmittal of registration requisitions (sales, hypothecs or mortgages, etc.), maintains the registration times for the vast majority of documents and further reduces trips to the registry offices. It is based on the latest technological developments, making a user-friendly, secure and dynamic interface accessible to professionals in real estate law. The implementation of this service, on-line validations and on-line training modules all had the purpose of allowing users to derive the greatest benefits from on-line registration.

Since its creation, the land registration system has undergone very few changes. Still today, when a citizen purchases an immovable, a land rights professional – main user of the system – submitts the contract in one of the 73 registry offices of registration for registration in the Land register of Québec. Before the new Civil code of Québec, came into effect, these offices were known as registry offices.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

 

Bureau de la publicité des droits (BPD)