Title Frauds and Title Insurance

1) Question: Lately in the news, I have been reading about reports on title fraud, where fraudsters are pretending to be the owners of a home and then later selling that home or refinancing it to fraudulently collect proceeds. I'm worried. How can I protect myself from becoming a victim?

Answer: Fraudsters generally target homes that are mortgage free or have no claims against it. The fraudsters might know the home owner or conduct a search on the property to find out if there are any mortgages or encumbrances (ie claims) on it. A fraudster is less interested in homes that have mortgages or claims on it because those cannot be sold, transferred or refinance without firstly paying out the mortgage or claim. Homes without mortgages or encumbrance/claims on them (which would need to be firstly cleared and paid out) are the best targets for fraudsters. Having a mortgage, line of credit, or getting a refinance will be reflected on your title and deter you from being a fraudster’s target.

Title Insurance

Absent any mortgage or encumbrance/claim on your title, title insurance will provide coverage against title fraud.

2) Question: My home is mortgage-free; but,how do I know if there is title insurance on my home?

Answer: When you complete the purchaseof your home, your lawyer provides you with a client report containing a copy of your title insurance policy and in the invoice reflecting the payment for the title insurance. Your lawyer will discusstitle insurance with you during your transaction. If there is title insurance, there would be clear indication of such in the client reporting and closing materials. If you can no longer find a copy of your transaction materials from your home purchase, you may contact the law firm who represented you on the purchase to check your file and confirm whether or not you have title insurance and provide you with a copy of your policy.  Title insurance was introduced to the Canadian market approximately 20 years ago and it is more likely that homes purchased during this time have title insurance. However, it would be prudent to double-check with the law firm who acted on your purchase and to obtain a copy of your policy. If there were to be a report of title fraud on your home, it would be prudent to have a copy of your policy with you to seek your coverage.

3)  Question: My mortgage-free home does not have title insurance on it, nor can I locate the law firm who represented me on my purchase. How can I get title insurance?

Answer: Unlike other forms of insurance, title insurance must be obtained from a real estate law firm. Landmark Law may assist you in obtaining a title insurance policy to protect your home.

Client Kit - Ordering Title Insurance

4)  Question: How much does it cost to obtain Title Insurance?

Answer: Our fees are $495+Disbursements+Insurance Premium+HST.

-          Disbursements include government searches required by the title insurer such as title searching and writ clearance certificates, which range approximately $50 and up depending on number of owners and parcel registers for the home.

-          Insurance premium is calculated based on the value of the home.

o    Your home value may be found for free on your MPAC property assessment notice; or, please see step #5 in question #5 below on how to obtain your MPAC property assessment notice.

o   The estimated quotation for title insurance premium my be found on our cost calculator [click here] by typing in your estimated home value and placeholder fields in our “Purchase Property” tab or we may determine the estimate during our free consultation in step #1 of question #5 below.

5)  How do I get started with Landmark Law to order Title Insurance?

1.      Book your free video consultation [Click Here].

2. Complete the following forms:

a.       PDF Standard/Joint Retainer [Click Here]

b.       Form 1A - Verification of Identity Form [Click Here]

3. Please provide 2 valid Identifications for each Spouse/Client

(e.g. Canadian Driver’s Licence, Credit Card, Passport, Canadian PR, SIN);

Note: Health card not accepted.

In addition, please make sure to scan both the "frontside" and "backside" of both Identifications.

4.      $300 retainer fee payable to “Landmark Law Prof Corp, in Trust” or e-transfer to: Winnie@LandmarkLaw.ca

5. Provide copy of your current MPAC statement showing the value of your home. If you don't have your MPAC property assessment notice, you can obtain the home value information online:

Phone 1 866 296-MPAC (6722) to obtain Access Key (8am - 5pm)

6. Documents to show us:

  1. Most recent property tax bill
  2. [For Condos only] Status Certificate (you will have to order from your property management
  3. Tenancy agreement IF the property is tenanted

Author image
Winnie J Luk, BA, JD, MBA, founder of Landmark Law, is a seasoned Ontario lawyer practicing in Wills and Estates, Real Estate, and Business Law and frequent speaker of free legal education seminar.