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How an Alberta retirement home avoided costly construction


A retirement home just northwest of Edmonton, Alberta got a notice from the City that their facility was encroaching in two different places over or on a utility easement. Everything looked fine before purchasing—after all, the sign and retaining wall the City had a problem with were already on the property. The retirement home now had to seek compliance to let the encroachments stay, or face the removal of both structures. But they had another option.

The retirement home had a commercial title insurance policy from FCT, so they contacted us immediately. Because their policy had coverage, we took responsibility for resolving the issue for them. While removing the structures in question was one solution it would involve lengthy and disruptive construction.  To avoid that, we retained legal counsel to get the new development permits and an encroachment agreement that would let the structures stay. We covered the total cost of $5,626.78, and the retirement home got back to caring for its residents without missing a step.

What are the problems with easements?

A utility easement is a legal agreement that grants a utility company the right to access a private property to perform needed work or improvements. They’re a benefit to the public, but can be inconvenient for property owners. That’s especially true when it comes to encroachment issues.

Easements may not be obvious because they usually look like just another part of the property. They can also last forever. Because of this, many owners end up unknowingly building or inheriting improvements that the City can later challenge if they interfere with access to the easement.

Encroachment issues, especially around easements, come up often in commercial real estate. This is just one of many risks a commercial title insurance policy can cover. Learn more about why your clients need commercial title insurance on every deal.

Subject to certain exceptions, commercial title insurance policies equal or below $10M CAD are provided by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Commercial title insurance policies above $10M CAD are provided by First American Title Insurance Company. Reference should be made to policy documents to confirm the insurer on any individual transaction. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.


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