Assurance Fund now offers greater protection to BC home buyers
Recent amendments to theLand Title Act provide greater certainty to BC home buyers who, through no fault of their own, become entangled in a fraudulent transfer. Although fraudulent land transactions are rare, section 25.1 of the Land Title Act now creates immediate certainty of land title for a person who has acquired a fee simple interest in a property in good faith and for valuable consideration although, unknown to that person, the transaction involved a forged transfer.
Lawyers will wish to be aware of this protection on behalf of their clients.
Prior to the amendment, if A forged a transfer of B’s title to C and C was a completely innocent purchaser with no knowledge of the fraud, B would have been restored on title and C would be left with no remedy except against A.
After the amendment, which seeks to uphold the principle of immediate infeasibility of title and ensure public protection, C would keep the title acquired and B would be compensated by the Assurance Fund.
As lawyers know, the Assurance Fund has long provided compensation to individuals who are deprived of title to real property due to an error in the operation of the Land Title Act or the administration of the land title system under the Registrar’s direction. With the most recent round of legislative amendments, this basic protection has been extended.
Previously it was necessary for a claimant to show that an administrative error had been caused solely by an act of the Registrar, but now the concept of contributory negligence is recognized. If a claimant contributes to a loss caused by the Registrar, the liability is shared. The claimant accordingly bears his or her portion of the loss, but can claim against the Assurance Fund for the amount of the loss caused by the Registrar.
The Land Title Act changes came into effect as part of Bill 16, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), SBC 2005, c.35, on November 24. On behalf of the Law Society, Su Forbes, QC, Director of the Lawyers Insurance Fund and Ron Usher, Policy Staff Lawyer, Practice Opportunities served on the task force behind these reforms. The Law Society has endorsed the reforms as a means of better protecting the public and enhancing public confidence in BC’s respected land title system.
For more information, contact the Land Title and Survey Authority or visit online at www.ltsa.ca.