Frequently asked questions

The fundamental purpose of all surveys is to provide property owners with an accurate determination of the size and shape (dimensions) of their property, setting property markers on the corners and reporting on the position of improvements (buildings, etc.) made to the property-particularly with respect to improvements such as fences near the property boundaries. Under the laws of Ontario, only a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor may provide you with this information. A survey is often required by property owners who wish to make changes to their property (add a building, build a fence, etc.) or simply wish to have knowledge of the conditions of their property

  • Some other circumstances where surveys may be required are:
  • Buying or selling a property or part of a property;
  • Mortgaging a property;
  • Property redevelopment such as a subdivision, condominium, etc.;
  • Construction of new buildings, fences, hedges, etc.
  • Boundary disputes.

You need to protect your investment by making sure you are building on your own property. Before you build, be sure to have a licensed surveyor determine your property boundaries, replacing missing stakes if necessary. Having a surveyor mark the location of your building on site BEFORE construction begins will ensure that you meet setback requirements and other restrictions enforced by the municipality in their zoning By-Laws. Failure to comply with these By-Laws may result in the loss of a future sale if the purchasers have an up-to-date survey done. Mortgage lenders generally do not advance money until By-Law infringements are cleared up.

Title insurance is a form of insurance that was first sold in the United States to protect property owners and mortgages against loss through adverse claims or hidden interests in their properties. Title insurance, however, does not provide any information about the property to an owner or lender. Any problems that may have been revealed by a survey are instead passed on to the purchaser or lender, to be resolved by them at some later date. In Canada, the orderly opening of the land for development, and the subsequent evolution of our Land Registry systems, have provided security of tenure through reliable documentation of land ownership and of interests in land. Canadians have traditionally relied upon surveys of the properties they were about to purchase to reveal information about the property that was not available solely through the title records.

Many applications for alterations to a property will often require for submission of various permits and plans. A survey document is often one of those plans, as it will form the basis for everything to follow. Just because an older survey is available, it does not mean that it is up to date. Older surveys often depict the home at the time of construction and was usually intended for the owners at the time. Older surveys may not show fences, retaining walls, garages, and other modifications which could have taken place, including easements and rights-of-way. Hence, starting off with outdated information will often lead to delays and problems with your application and permits.

In many cases, older survey documents purchased online will not be accepted by the Town, City, or Region, as they are outdated.