Be Careful Who’s Buying Your House!

In the News

Thinking of selling your house? Be careful! Under a new law, the buyer must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.

Could the notary refuse to do the sale?

Yes. A notary cannot do a sale involving an illegal or fraudulent act. Indeed, if the notary carried out such a sale, they’d risk a $10,000 fine!

In addition to the buyer, everyone else involved in an illegal sale could face such a fine, for example, you as the seller, the real estate broker, or the mortgage broker. Make sure to check the immigration status of the buyer as early as possible!

How do you check the buyer’s status?

A permanent resident can show you their Permanent Resident Card, which confirms their immigration status. However, a Canadian citizen does not necessarily have a document to prove their status. A passport is proof of citizenship and many Canadians have one. If not, you can consult the Canadian government’s website to see which documents are valid proofs of citizenship and which are not.

What if you sell anyway?

If such a sale is actually completed, it is not automatically cancelled. It remains valid and you do not have to buy your house back. However, a court can force the buyer to sell to another person. The objective is to ensure that the house not remain the property of someone without the required immigration status.

Exception: Offer to purchase signed before January 1, 2023 

The new law does not apply to offers to purchase signed before January 1, 2023. This has been confirmed in court. So, you don’t have to worry about the immigration status of the buyer if the offer was signed before that date. It doesn’t matter at what date the notary will do the official sale.