Land assembly and the importance of title insurance

Feb 18th, 2021 | By FCT

What is land assembly?

Land assembly is the joining of multiple adjacent parcels of land to form a single site that can then be used to construct a larger property.

Due to the increasing scarcity of land in urban areas, land assemblies have become more and more popular with developers looking to build higher and bigger properties such as:

  • residential subdivision
  • high rise
  • retail complex
  • school
  • hospital
  • airport
  • government use

Location, location, location

Location is key to the development of a land assembly. They frequently occur along major transportation arteries. Property owners along those corridors often take advantage of their location and will mutually decide to market their properties together to appeal to developers. Sometimes the developer will approach a group of owners in such a location to initiate the process.

The benefits of land assembly to owners

How does land assembly benefit owners? By selling a property as part of an assembly, owners are in a position to demand a higher purchase price since developers are more interested in the combined land rather than the individual property.

Complications of a land assembly

Land assemblies differ from traditional properties in many ways. Some of the elements to consider include:

  • The intention of the owners to sell by entering a binding contract.
  • Are all properties within the assembly equal (are some corner lots)?
  • A formula to determine the purchase price for each plot.
  • The length of time it takes to complete the entire process. (Consideration must be given to the amount of time a property is tied up by the contract before the subject conditions are removed, since there is no guarantee the transfer will complete until subjects are removed.)

A land assembly is subject to the many of the same vulnerabilities as any other property purchase with the additional challenge of dealing with multiple owners. Issues that can arise include:

  • errors in the legal descriptions
  • gaps between the lots being assembled
  • encroachments from lots not being purchased
  • old easements or rights of way
  • old undischarged mortgages or leases
  • orphaned laneways

How title insurance can help

A title insurance policy from FCT offers many benefits that can make a land assembly purchase much easier, including:

  • fewer searches
  • increased efficiency and certainty
  • more coverage than a lawyer’s opinion
  • protection from fraud and survey defects*
  • gap coverage for registrations
  • CRA super priority liens
  • duty to defend

Talk with the experts

FCT has a highly experienced team of underwriters who can help you with complex deals. Before proceeding with a land assembly purchase, why not reach out and take advantage of our expertise?


*Post-policy fraud and survey coverage is not applicable to vacant land.

Most commercial title insurance policies are provided jointly by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. and First American Title Insurance Company, with the remainder being solely provided by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. 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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