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Executive Summaries Feb 27, 2020

Municipal Law in Your Real Estate Transactions

Before proceeding with a transaction, you are likely to conduct due diligence. To ensure that the properties involved in the transaction and the uses made of them are in compliance with municipal law, does your audit include a municipal law component?

The due diligence of any real estate transaction should include obtaining the zoning report and a careful review of the municipal assessment roll.

Usefulness of the Zoning Report

A zoning report ensures :

  • What uses are permitted in the zone;
  • The building’s maximum footprint, setbacks and other site standards;
  • The minimum number of parking spaces required according to the use;
  • Heights and number of stories allowed;
  • The conformity of uses and accessory buildings (e.g. shed, antenna, etc.);
  • The conformity of signage.

If the zoning report reveals that the use of the building does not correspond to the permitted zoning, it is then possible to do a search for acquired rights in order to validate whether the use began, with the required authorizations, at a time when the regulations allowed it. Holding acquired rights certainly allows the use to continue, but probably not to be modified or intensified. It is therefore essential to make sure the projects you have for this building can actually be carried out.

Review of the Municipal Value on the Roll

Did you know that you had until April 30 of the year a municipal assessment roll comes into effect to request a review? Since a roll is valid for 3 years, it is important to be well informed about your rights and the opportunities to review the value on the roll within that time frame. Otherwise, you could be assuming a tax burden that is too high, and this for 3 years and not just one.

For example, the following municipalities have adopted an assessment roll for the years 2020-2021-2022, for which requests for review must be filed before April 30, 2020 :

  • Montréal
  • Lévis
  • Pontiac
  • Pointe-Claire
  • Fossambault-sur-le-Lac
  • Sorel-Tracy
  • Rimouski
  • Kirkland
  • Chambly
  • Sutton
  • Montebello
  • Roberval
  • Mont-Saint-Hilaire
  • Bromont
  • Etc.

It is important to be properly informed of your rights in a real estate transaction. Do not hesitate to contact our team of specialists in municipal law for more information.

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