Shibley Righton LLP | Miller Thomson LLP
Can anyone (including foreigners) own and occupy real estate in your jurisdiction (including shares in property owning companies)? Are there any restrictions?
Real estate law is a provincial (as opposed to federal/national) jurisdiction. This means real estate laws vary from province to province. There are restrictions on foreign ownership of certain property that are province specific. Some jurisdictions also impose a tax on property owned by non-residents.
Are there restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies? If so briefly give an outline?
Provided the company is registered to do business in the relevant province, there are no legal restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies. However, provinces may have specific mortgaging requirements.
Please provide a short summary of the fees and costs (including tax) relating to buying real estate in your jurisdiction.
Each province in Canada has a different tax regime. Most provinces have a Land Transfer Tax which is a graduated tax payable by the purchaser on acquisition of real property. In addition, in some areas of Canada, there is a Non-Resident Speculation Tax on residential properties and agricultural lands. Registration fees are payable for the registration of Transfers/Deeds of Land. Some types of real estate also attract the federal goods and services tax or harmonized sales tax.
Are there taxes applicable to owning real estate and can the burden of the taxes be passed to someone else (e.g. a tenant or an occupier - not being the owner)?
There are municipal realty taxes associated with ownership of real estate which are payable annually. If real estate is occupied by a tenant or occupier, the realty taxes may be passed to the tenant or occupier as a matter of contract.
Are there tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in your jurisdiction? If so what are they?
There are no tax breaks for foreign buyers of Canadian real estate.
How is the ownership of Real Estate evidenced in your jurisdiction?
In most provinces, real estate ownership is recorded in publicly accessible provincial land registry offices. In some provinces, the ownership of land shown on the register is conclusive evidence of ownership absent fraud.
Is it possible to keep the identity of owners of real estate confidential in your jurisdiction?
Corporate structures or trusts may be utilized to shield the identity of individuals owning real estate.