Oops. The Address is Wrong on a Registered Document!
Our firm recently had a call from a manager who was dealing with a lawyer looking for a status certificate on a unit being sold. The lawyer provided the manager with the address for the unit so she could prepare a status certificate for it. While preparing the status certificate, the manager reviewed the condominium’s by-laws and, to her surprise, she noticed two units had the same address on the by-laws. Both units were described as unit 43 at the municipal address of the condominium. She knew the units could not both be unit 43, so she reached out to our office to have the by-law corrected. This is a common inquiry we receive in our office, so we thought we would explain it in this blog post to help others who might have the same question.
Obviously, the manager was correct that something was amiss. But how did this happen? It happens when someone changes the address description of the unit and puts the wrong unit number. Sometimes it is entered incorrectly from the start when the declarant transfers the unit. Sometimes some address fields in a registered document have a full residential address while others on the same document only refer to the city or town, making no reference to the street number or name. Another similar question is why the address fields within a registered document refer to different municipalities for units in the same condominium. For example, a registered document may say one unit is in the City of Hamilton where others are listed as being in Ancaster or Dundas.
Our clients typically ask us to fix the document because they feel that the lawyer who registered it made a mistake when entering the information into the by-law. This is not the case. The address and legal description fields within a registered document are pre-populated by the system. Lawyers do not insert the information that is found in the address and legal description fields.
How do you fix the system? Unfortunately, the electronic registry system employees take the position that so long as the municipality and legal descriptions are accurate, it will not accept correction requests for wrong address field information. Unit owners can speak with their lawyers if they want to discuss other solutions, but for condominiums there is no need to take any further steps to investigate it.
When one of the address descriptions for the units is clearly wrong, how do you determine which one is correct and which is incorrect to complete a status certificate? There are a few different ways depending on the information you have. If you know who the current owner is, the lawyer can search by name and provide a list of the units currently owned by that owner. If you do not want to search the electronic registry system, you should be able to use the Condominium’s Description (condo plans) to determine which is the proper unit by comparing the legal description of the unit (i.e. unit 43, level 1) on the condo plan. Once you know the proper legal description, you can figure out which of the units is the proper one. Lastly, you could ask the lawyer requesting the status certificate to confirm which unit they are looking for on the status certificate. They should be able to provide the legal description instead of only the municipal address.
I would like to thank Cathy Delaney, law clerk, for her assistance in writing this blog. She was the most suitable person to write it since she normally fields these requests from our clients.