Frequently Asked Questions

What are Land Transfer Taxes?

Land Transfer Taxes (LTT) are charges collected by the government to generate revenue for services. In Ontario, acquiring an interest in land will require purchasers to pay a provincial Land Transfer Tax. Those acquiring property in the city of Toronto will incur an additional municipal land transfer this is an answer this is an answer 

When do Land Transfer Taxes need to be paid?

The LTT is paid by the purchaser when the transaction closes. The transaction will close when the transfer of land is registered with the land registry office. The LTT is factored into the closing calculations. Your real estate lawyer will make this payment on your behalf after receiving funds from you and/or your mortgage lender.

How are Land Transfer Taxes calculated?

The amount of LTT is based on the value/purchase price of the property and can vary significantly. First time home buyers may be eligible for a portion of their LTT to be refunded.

Land Transfer Tax Rates in Ontario

0.5% up to $55,000, plus

1.0% between $55,000 and $250,000, plus

1.5% between $250,000 and $400,000 plus

2.0% above $400,000

Land Transfer Tax Rates in Toronto:

0.5% up to $55,000, plus

1.0% between $55,000 and $250,000, plus

2.0% between 250,000 and $400,000

2.5% when amount exceed $2,000,000, where the land contains one or two single family residences


For example, a property valued at $500,000 would accrue the following LTT’s:


Property Purchased in the City of Toronto

Property Purchased outside the City of Toronto

Ontario LTT



Toronto LTT



Total LTT



What is The Role of your Lawyer?

Lawyers are there to assist clients throughout their transaction to ensure that they are protected, advised accordingly and that they fully understand their legal obligations. Purchasing property is possibly the largest investment a person will make. Clients want to make certain they have the right lawyer to not only protect their legal rights but also to save them time, money, stress and risk.

What Law Firms Do

  • An Agreement of Purchase & Sale can be quite lengthy, especially for new build purchases. Prior to signing the Agreement, it may be beneficial to retain a lawyer. The lawyer, for example, may be able to:
    • For new build homes, recommend capping the closing costs and adjustments that are charged in addition to the purchase price.
    • For resale homes, recommend further clauses for your anticipated use of the home.
  • Lawyers will review documentation (i.e. deeds, agreements, mortgage documentation) and advise of each party?s rights and obligations. They will recommend changes in order to better protect client interests.
  • Title Search: When purchasing property the law firm will conduct a Title Search to confirm that clients are acquiring a valid title that is free from outstanding liens, debts, title defects etc.
  • Execution Searches: are required for all registered vendors and purchasers, who are obtaining a mortgage, to determine if they have any writ(s) or execution(s) filed against them. Essentially, to ensure that there has been no judgements filed against their names.
  • Law firms will prepare the necessary documentation for any mortgage(s) being obtained.
  • They will obtain title insurance policy to protect your title to the property from such things as title or mortgage fraud.
  • Lawyers will prepare the Statement of Adjustments which will reflect the overall cost of purchasing property.
  • They will register the property with the Land Registrar Office.

For an all-inclusive estimate check out our Services.

Sellers Left Junk in my New Home, What can I do?

Most real estate lawyers have probably had a client call them after closing, to complain about sellers leaving unwanted items behind.  I have personally received emails with detailed photographs of nothing but junk.  When this type of situation is discovered after the transaction has closed, the purchasers generally try to resolve it through communications between the lawyers or real estate agents, or by getting rid of the items themselves.

 Can I refuse to close?

When a situation like this is discovered before closing, purchasers sometimes ask, “can I refuse to close?” The answer in most of the situations I have come across has been a clear “no.”  In some situations, however, it may be possible to refuse to close.  This type of situation involves the concept of “vacant possession” — something the seller is supposed to provide to the buyer in a real estate transaction. This means the property should be free of people or things (no impediment) once the purchaser takes ownership.

What if I can't move in because of remaining belongings?

The greater the seriousness of the situation, the greater the likelihood that a buyer can refuse to close. For example, if a seller left behind a couple of garbage bags in the garage or an old barbecue on the deck, the purchaser would likely still be required to close the transaction.  

However, if there was furniture scattered throughout the house so as to not allow the purchaser’s to fully move in, this would make it more likely that the purchasers could refuse to close.  The ultimate decision can only be made by a court, but here is a general rule approved in an Ontario Superior Court decision:

"It must be an impediment which substantially prevents or interferes with the enjoyment of the right of possession of a substantial part of the property." 

If circumstances do not meet this test, then the purchaser would have to close, but could then take legal action after closing.

If you’re in the mood for some case law, look up Ramatrol Corporation v. Chairtex Inc. (2002).

Why do Landlords Increase Rent Every Year?

The government of Ontario releases rent increase guidelines yearly. For 2017, the maximum allowable increase is 1.5%. In general, rent can only be increased if one year has passed since the tenant moved in, or one year after the last rent increase. As a landlord, you must give your tenant at least 90 days notice before the increase can take effect.

As a landlord, you should increase your rent regularly

Let’s say you have a tenant who has been renting your unit for 3 years.  You haven’t increased rent in the past because you didn’t feel the need to — you were satisfied with the amount of positive cash flow you were receiving.  Now in your fourth year, your cash flow decreased significantly.

You might think, “I’ll just catch up on the increases that I didn’t take advantage of, and increase rent this year by the past years’ guideline amounts combined. The problem is — you can’t.

A landlord cannot combine increases from past years

The rent increases that you don’t take advantage of are lost forever. It may be possible to increase rent by more than the guideline amount, but you have to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board and provide valid reasoning — for example, a substantial increase in property taxes or utilities.

The forms required to increase rent can be found on the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website.

What does Chattels Included Mean?

The Story

We recently closed a purchase transaction for a couple who signed an agreement for a home valued at just under $1M.  The “Chattels Included” section on the standard OREA form included the words “all window coverings now on the property.” Naturally, our clients thought they were getting all window coverings, whether they were blinds, shades, curtains or any other type.

Prior to closing, during one of their visits to the property, our clients discovered that some curtains had been removed, and some of the fancier blinds had been replaced with cheaper ones.  The sellers were urged to return the window coverings that were present at the time of signing the agreement but refused to do so.  An agreement to holdback funds also could not be reached.

To avoid further hassle and expenses, our clients closed on their new home, and will now be seeking compensation from the sellers in court.  This is generally not the ideal option for anyone, as it involves, time, money and stress.

The Problem

Purchasers and sellers typically do not see the need to be overly specific when listing items in the “chattels included” section of their agreement of purchase and sale.  The thought of the sellers replacing their stainless steel appliances with cheaper ones prior to closing generally does not even cross a purchaser’s mind.  I have come across many purchasers who say they trust the sellers and do not want to offend them by being too specific with the items listed in this section.

The Lesson

My advice to purchasers and sellers is to list as much detail as possible to make it clear to any third party as to what was intended to be purchased or sold with the home.  

Be Specific

Being specific in an agreement of purchase and sale will not offend anyone — it benefits both parties and ensures that everyone gets and gives only what they intended.  In the case of appliances, for example, model and/or serial numbers could be included in an attached schedule.  In the case of window coverings, more specific terms could be used such as wooden horizontal blinds and curtains.  

Include Pictures 

Pictures can also be attached for greater clarity. Remember, disputes like the one mentioned above do not only occur as a result of bad faith.  It is quite possible that the sellers in the above scenario never intended on selling certain window coverings (possibly due to them being custom made to match their furniture), and the agreement should not have read “all window coverings.”

I am guessing that our clients will be successful in their claim, as the sellers have disputed that curtains are a type of window covering.