To know about the certificate of location for a real estate transaction

Among the essential documents for the sale of a property is the certificate of location, which can raise several questions. Indeed, it is a mandatory document for any real estate transaction that contains very useful information. But what is it exactly? Here are the answers to some of your questions.


The definition of a certificate of location
What is the certificate of location used for?
Who should provide it?
How long is a certificate of location valid?
What is the role of title insurance?


The definition of a certificate of location

A certificate of location is a report and a plan of a property produced by a land surveyor relating to the ownership titles, the cadastre and the laws and regulations that may affect it. The items checked are:

  • The updated description of the land
  • Easements
  • Constraints (e.g. flood zone, environmental protection zone, etc.)
  • Encroachments
  • Compliance with municipal and governmental regulations

To give a concrete example, it is this certificate that confirms whether the land is suitable for installing a swimming pool or not.

The role of the land surveyor and the certificate of location

What is the certificate of location used for?

This document provides very useful information on the situation. It thus provides a guarantee as to the conformity of the property. In the same way, it could identify non-compliant elements that it is better to know before completing a real estate transaction.

Who should provide it?

It is legally up to the seller to provide a copy of the certificate of location to the buyer. In general, the promise to purchase will stipulate that the seller must submit an up-to-date certificate of location stating the current situation of the building.

It is also the seller's responsibility to pay for the certificate of location. However, if the buyer requests a new certificate and it does not demonstrate any changes, it may be up to the buyer to pay the costs.

How long is a certificate of location valid?

According to article 2917 of the Civil Code of Quebec, the notary will require a new certificate of location if it is more than 10 years old, even if no change has been made to the property.

A new certificate of location must be issued as soon as any change is made to the property. We are talking about, among other things, any change in regulations, ground movement, the addition of a fence, change of lot number, etc.


The preparation of a certificate of location can take from 4 to 6 weeks. It should also be taken into account that the notary must take cognizance of it a minimum of 20 days before the signing of the deed of sale.

What is the role of title insurance?

In a competitive market for buyers, to speed up the process when delays are long, it may seem attractive to replace the certificate of location with title insurance.

Although this type of insurance covers you in the event of problems relating to your rights to the property, its coverage is however limited. In particular, environmental risks such as soil contamination or flooding are not covered by title insurance. Thus, it is strongly recommended to ask for a certificate of location to know exactly what you are buying.

A Sutton real estate broker can help you demystify and manage all the documents necessary for a real estate transaction, whether you are a buyer or a seller. Find a Sutton real estate broker


Association professionnelle des notaires du Québec (APNQ) – Le certificat de localisation

Éducaloi – Acheteurs : Why Should You Ask for a Certificate of Location Before Buying?

Ordre des Arpenteurs-Géomètres du Québec (OAGQ) – Certificat de localisation

Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) – Importance of an up-to-date certificate of location