Legal vs. Illegal Rental Suites in Edmonton

house with cash register

“Basement Suites and the Abominable Snowman.”

Why are basement suites like the Abominable Snowman? Because they don’t exist, at least not in the City of Edmonton, Alberta.

My client Jane was excited when she saw the advertisement, “beautiful, 3-bdrm bungalow with spacious 2-bdrm basement suite.” As part of due diligence, Jane went down to City Hall in Edmonton, and visited the Planning and Building department.

“Tell me about basement suites,” said Jane to the friendly development officer. Continue reading

How to Pick a Lawyer for Mortgages, Refinancing, and Buying or Selling a Home

Why Use a Real Estate Lawyer for My House Purchase or Sale?

Here’s the scenario. When we get a new Alberta real estate transaction sent to us here at RMLO Law LLP in Edmonton, I take a look at what lawyer/law firm is representing the other party. Normally it’s a law firm that does a lot of real estate. Great, that means that we will be working with somebody who understands how real estate works with respect to timing, documentation, and nuances of this legal specialty. What I hate to see is if the law firm is better known for their expertise in other legal specialties, such as divorce law or litigation.

Yes, we are all lawyers but it’s an age of specialization. Continue reading

Buyer and Seller Using Same Real Estate Lawyer

legal dispute

Can We Both Use the Same Lawyer in a Real Estate Transaction?

This question comes up all the time in my Alberta real estate legal practice. I’ll get a call from a buyer or seller, we discuss the details of their purchase or sale and then the question comes up: “This is a simple deal and we want to save some money on legal fees. Can we both use you as our lawyer to close this deal?”

The short answer is maybe, but practically speaking, no. Continue reading

Wills, Estates, and Selling Property

Will and Testament

Podcast Episode 105:
Probate Sales Need Patience

This Tale is about the legal process in Alberta (and some other Canadian jurisdictions) of selling property as part of an estate after someone dies. A long-time client got in touch to say that her Dad had passed away. I knew her Dad and had done seven or eight real estate transactions for the family over the last 15 years. Dad was a great guy and I was very sorry to hear of his passing.

My client said it was a simple estate; basically a bank account, some personal possessions, a few stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, and an acreage where Dad still lived at the time of his passing. There was a Will appointing my client as sole executor and an estate lawyer was already on working on probate.

Download the audio file HERE.
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Guarantees, Title Insurance, and New Legal Precedent in Canada

Podcast Episode 104:
Sellers, Are You Guaranteeing Title?

Wow, a recent bombshell of a legal case from the Ontario Court of Appeal is causing huge ripples in the Canadian real estate world. In the Courts and in the world of precedent there is a pecking order. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the land. The Ontario Court of Appeal is the court of last resort in Ontario. Ontario is Canada’s largest common law jurisdiction. Therefore, any decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal is extremely influential. It recently ruled that marketability of title and marketability of property may be linked.

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Rare Investing Opportunities with Creative Real Estate Strategies

house with cash register

Podcast Episode 103:
Unpredictable Seller Motivation And Agreement For Sale Magic.”

 

An investor recently showed up in my Edmonton law office with this absolutely marvellous Tale about a unique property seller in Alberta and the magic of having the right real estate investing strategy for the job.

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Struck Corporations, Land Titles, and Tax in Alberta

3D stickman with red letter envelope

Podcast Episode 102:
“Corporate Matters Matter.”

Here at RMLO Law LLP in Edmonton, Alberta, we are the corporate registered office for many corporations. We get lots of letters addressed to those corporations because that’s part of being registered office. Anyone who wants to send something official to a corporation can send it to the registered office. Those official notices are often notices of trouble…

A recent letter was no different. It was a scary letter!

Download the audio file HERE.
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Legal Suites and Airport Vicinity Protection Areas in Alberta

Podcast Episode 101:

“Deep Diligence Saves
Half A Million Dollars!”

I heard from a Calgary investor recently about dodging an expensive bullet.

Houses with legal suites or houses zoned for legal suites are all the rage in Alberta. What’s not to like about adding a secondary suite to a single-family home effectively turning it into a duplex with amazing positive cash flow? Everyone likes that. Tougher to do in Calgary, though. I hate to say it, our Calgary cousins are not nearly as advanced as we Edmontonians on the secondary suite issue. The City of Edmonton has amended bylaws to allow secondary suites all over the city and in most zoning situations.

City of Calgary, not so much. In Calgary, secondary suites are only allowed in certain areas. Calgary City Council is divided on whether to expand the areas where they allow secondary suites.

Download the audio file HERE.
Download the handout HERE.
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Continue reading

Home Inspection Liability

Faulty Furnaces and Inspection Issues.

It’s always a good idea to get a professional building inspector to assess any property you’d like to buy. But it doesn’t guarantee 100% that you won’t have problems with your real estate purchase! Whose responsibility is it if there are issues that the inspector doesn’t find? The following is a story about a client, an inspection, and a rusty old furnace.

My client hired a reputable home inspector to check a potential house purchase in Calgary, Alberta. After what appeared to be a thorough inspection, which included the 17-year-old furnace, my client decided to purchase the 1960 bungalow.

Days before occupancy, the natural gas furnace died, apparently from a rusted out heat exchanger. My client thought the home inspector should have caught this. The two estimates for repair were $4,000 and $10,000. Continue reading

Joint Ventures and Land Titles

Who’s on Title?

Two of our clients at RMLO Law LLP formed a typical Joint Venture (JV) to buy a property in Alberta with a brand new mortgage. One client was the “Investor” (the money-man). His JV partner was the “Finder”, (typically a person with real estate expertise and no money). In this case, the Finder had already purchased properties using every cent of his own money. He was out of borrowing capacity.

Part of their JV discussions was, “How should we take title?” Both clients understood that they had a few basic choices. Continue reading