News Release Archive

  Legislation which will provide certainty to land
  transactions and tax deeds, and make Nova Scotia a better
  place to do business was introduced in the Legislature
  yesterday by Municipal Affairs Minister Sandy Jolly. The
  Marketable Titles Bill received second reading today. 
  "This legislation will help all Nova Scotians by increasing
  the certainty of title to land," said the minister. "The
  essential purpose of this bill is to bring certainty to the
  law respecting marketable titles and tax deeds where
  confusion and unpredictability exist now."
  The bill addresses two issues that have reduced certainty of
  title, delaying property transactions and compelling
  property owners to engage in expensive court proceedings to
  validate their titles.
  The first issue is the appropriate number of years for a
  title search. Courts have tended to increase the length of
  the required title search. This bill fixes the title search
  period at forty years, the period used in the other
  provinces with this kind of legislation. A marketable title
  must have a starting point in a registered document at least
  forty years old.
  "The bill does not eliminate any legal interest in land,
  however old, except for some older unregistered interests,"
  said the minister. "This kind of interest most often arises
  when someone dies without a will but with heirs. The bill
  provides a method of protecting these interests with a
  registered notice."
  The second issue that the bill addresses is tax deeds. For
  many years Nova Scotians believed and relied on tax deeds as
  a good source of title. The law has shifted so dramatically
  that tax deeds have become very unreliable title documents
  the minister said. The bill brings the law on tax deeds back
  into balance. 
  It provides that after six years, a tax deed cannot be
  challenged for any reason except fraud or if it includes
  land that was assessed to someone else. This gives a person
  a year to redeem a property after a tax sale and six years
  more to challenge a tax sale for the reasons now allowed by
  the courts. Any right to sue for damages for wrongful sale
  is preserved. After six years, unless there was a double
  assessment or fraud, a title that includes a tax deed would
  not be open to challenge.
  The bill does not apply to highways, easements and rights of
  way for utilities or individual's rights of way that are in
  use, or encumbrances acknowledged in a deed in the chain of
  "This proposed legislation has been developed with the
  ongoing involvement of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society
  which is very familiar with the hardship that lack of
  certainty in this area of property law causes," the minister
  said. "The society has been a valuable source of assistance. 
  We have also heard from many members of the public who have
  experienced the kind of problems this bill is intended to
  This bill will help all property owners by increasing the
  certainty of their title, primarily by eliminating technical
  objections to title that represent potential rather than
  real adverse claims. 
  Contact: Chris McCulloch  902-424-7485
  jlw                                    Dec. 5, 1995